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I'm a big fan of Bit Torrent as a means of sharing rare & live audio & video.  I use a variety of torrent trackers including The Official BitTorrent Home Page DIME, The Traders' Den, and Boot City which cover a variety of musical artists, as well as performer-specific sites like U2Torrents, Dylantree, and Via Chicago (for Wilco and related bands).

Most of these trackers have search functions with varying degrees of functionability.  Most of the time, I just browse on the various sites associated with the different trackers — I come across many "must have" shows that way.  But there are times when I just need to find a particular show (such as the other day while putting together a huge Rolling Stones compilation I found that I have NO live recordings from their 1978 tour!).  What I thought would be useful would be a single search engine that could browse among ALL the trackers to find that one particular item.

Well, thanks to my weekly After Dawn newsletter (HIGHLY recommended for all sorts of audio/video-related tech news), I have just found out that the creator of BitTorrent, Bram Cohen, has developed just such a tool:

New search tool for BitTorrent
Published: May 24, 2005, 4:02 PM PDT
By John Borland
Staff Writer, CNET

Peer-to-peer developer Bram Cohen earned himself a place in Internet history with the creation of the BitTorrent file-swapping program.

But his open-source software, now one of the most widely used means of legally and illegally downloading files such as movies or software, has barely helped him earn a living.

Now the programmer is aiming to turn his donation-supported work into a steadier business, with a San Francisco-area start-up devoted to BitTorrent products. The first product, to be released in the next few days, will be an advertising-supported search engine that scours the Web for links to BitTorrent files.

"We're trying to make it a less haphazard revenue stream," said Cohen, who is moving back to the San Francisco area for the project.

The search tool, which will be based on Web crawling technology owned by Cohen's company, could be a boon to downloaders who previously have had little in the way of navigation for BitTorrent files.

Unlike peer-to-peer networks such as Kazaa, eDonkey or the original Napster, no central search technology exists for BitTorrent.  Instead, links to specific files are posted on Web sites.  Sites that specialize in copyrighted files such as movies or music are often taken offline by legal action.

A few tools have existed to get around this process.  Exeem, an application distributed by the former operators of SuprNova, a big BitTorrent Web site, integrates Cohen's downloading technology with a more traditional searchable file-swapping network.

An older Web search tool called Bitoogle also has provided some search capabilities.  Cohen said his BitTorrent search will be more powerful than Bitoogle, however.

Cohen said his tool won't aim to screen out the myriad copyrighted files likely to come up in a Web search.  But like other search engines, he will comply with federal copyright law and remove any links that copyright holders point to as leading to infringing material.

Plans for the new search tool were first reported by Wired News.

Cohen said his new company, eponymously named BitTorrent, will also host file downloads in torrent form and consult with companies wanting to use the technology to distribute their own products.
Good news, indeed.