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"File Sharing on the Web"

Look out Napster and Gnutella, a new program is hoping to take off where you left off. Scour Exchange (SX) has been released by Scour, one of the more popular web-based multimedia search engines. Like the others, SX is a free program that lets you share files through your Internet connection. It's similar to the popular Napster utility in ease of use, but its probably more comparable to Gnutella in that it supports many more types of media including audio, video, and image files.

Scour Exchange available for download at
www.scour.com, offers many of the traditional features found in file-sharing software. Users can search for individual files by format and sort the information based on connection speed and media type. There's a file-transfer feature to help keep track of downloads and uploads, and a hotlist feature that is not available on most of the competitor software.

Your search is not limited to those using SX as you can search for files among the SX community or the Internet. After you find what you are looking for, a simple click will download it to your computer. The downloaded files are added to your media library, which is organized automatically by SX. The software can also scan your hard drive and sort any available multimedia files according to their file extensions and place them in folders according to file type. When users want to see which files they have available, they can simply click on the Media Library icon.

One feature that is particularly nice is the ability to add a user to a hotlist for faster access to their computer and files. The hotlist instantly allows you to see online users, and a click on their name displays everything that they're sharing. To compete with other software, Scour plans to add a chat feature and the ability to share files even when a user is offline. They are also planning to incorporate more interaction with the Scour search engine. Scour hopes to reach even more people by promoting the software through its already popular web site and by encouraging people to take advantage of the open development program. The company is encouraging software developers to port Scour Exchange to additional platforms such as Linux.

Like Gnutella, Scour Exchange lets you search for most types of multimedia files, making them available for download. SX is still in its early beta testing stages, but it appears it is beginning to take off. For instance, at the time of this writing, there were more than 12,500 people online and over 5,600,000 shared files. Just a week or two ago, SX was far behind Napster and Gnutella in these categories, but it is rapidly approaching them. If you're looking for an alternative to Napster or Gnutella, this is a piece of software you should check out.

  - by Clayton Crooks

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