Napster’s new subscription service is dumb. More than five bucks a month for files “limited in audio quality and unable to be burned to CD.” Please.
Fortunately, there’s a new kid in town in the peer-to-peer file-sharing world, KaZaA.com. Unlike Napster, it allows you to search for and download files directly from your browser. Actually, it only allows you to do this 15 times before it requires that you download the KaZaA Media Desktop, which claims to provide faster searches, faster downloads, resumable downloads and more files. Or you can delete KaZaA’s cookie and do another 15 browser-based searches. Also unlike Napster you can get at other users’ video files, documents, and other files as well as audio files.
KaZaA is not a Gnutella client, so those of you who are trying to reunite the world will be disappointed by one more splinter of an already fractured user base. But most of my searches returned several hits, so there are apparently a lot of people using it. The technology claims to be 50 times more scalable than Gnutella.
KaZaA’s network is a distributed, self-organising network. Neither search requests nor actual downloads pass through any central server. The network is multi-layered, so that more powerful computers get to be search hubs (“SuperNodes”). Any KaZaA client may become a SuperNode, if it meets the criteria of processing power, bandwidth and latency. Network management is 100% automatic – SuperNodes appear and disappear according to demand.
So it seems pretty cool. Unfortunately, they will only allow you to get at mp3s with a bit rate of 128 kbps or less until they can figure out a deal with “European collecting-rights organisations.”
It’s worth checking out KaZaA.com before the Man shuts it down.