The latest version of Tor (0.2.9.8) introduced "SingleHop" hidden services (blog post, manual section) and I was curious if anyone had any knowledge / experience with them. Granted, they're very new, but I figure it would be worthwhile to ask anyway.
I think converting our hidden service(s) to this new format could be beneficial - it would likely be faster, and reduce the load on the Tor network as a whole. However, it appears to be experimental, may have privacy impacts - "the fact that a client is accessing a Single Onion rather than a Hidden Service may be statistically distinguishable," and appears to be a non-reversible conversion process based on the manual section.
We don't have the ability / resources to set up a separate single-hop hidden service with a different .onion domain (there is a global flag, you can either have single-hop HS or you cannot,) and I'm hesitant to move us over when it appears to be irreversible. We've had this .onion for a fairly significant length of time, and breaking it would probably be detrimental.
Do we think this is something worth pursuing? Do we wait until this feature is no longer flagged as experimental? I don't have a great sense of what the split is on .onion vs .org browsing / usage, so it's difficult to say if making this change would be a positive performance change for any significant number of users.
This is more just throwing the idea out there, the current hidden service will stay as it is for the time being.