Lantern is a free peer-to-peer internet censorship circumvention tool, used for casual web browsing. It provides a way to bypass state-sanctioned filtration through a network of trusted users, but it's not an anonymity tool like Tor. Network connections will be dispersed between multiple computers running Lantern so it will not put undue stress on a single connection or computer.
In early versions, Lantern's framework requires the use of Google Talk for users to invite other trusted users from their Google Talk contacts. Soon after that, the network was almost blocked by Chinese government.
The 2.0 version was released in 2015, users not required to connect by invite.
The software is financed by US$2.2 million (HK$17.1 million) seed funding by the US State Department.