Last week I wrote about BitTorrent the company and the search engine they were planning to launch. Well that search engine is now live, so I figured I’d take it for a spin. The site apparently only indexes torrents that it’s robots can find on their own, so I am not sure how well they would do at penetrating the sites that require registration.
The first search I attempted was for something legal, Firefox. The entire site, front page and results page, look a lot like Google, but I suppose that’s typical of most any search engine these days. Anyway, there were 22 results for Firefox, and not one of them was the latest version. In fact, the latest version I could find was 1.0.2, which is two versions behind.
The second search I tried was Coldplay. Of the 20 results it returned, 9 appeared directly related to Coldplay’s music, with torrents for the new single, their previous album, and some rare songs among others. Search number three was for Britney Spears, and it returned 42 results. Keeping with the music, I searched for 50 Cent, and it found 33 results.
I figured software would be a good thing to search for too, so I tried Microsoft. Lots of torrents for Microsoft stuff, with 83 results. How about Linux? There we go, 333 results. Unfortunately, not many of them look like distros.
Based on that brief exercise, I was left unimpressed. I think for now I’ll stick to the torrent sites that haven’t been shut down as they do a better job of indexing and displaying torrents. The BitTorrent search doesn’t show how many seeds and peers a particular torrent has, nor how many times it’s been downloaded. These pieces of information are useful in weeding through the crap that is out there. Perhaps over time the site’s robots will find more torrents too, so the index will become more useful. Room for improvement I guess! Another thing that would be nice to see is stuff like Firefox manually indexed. The search engine would be so much more useful if legitimate software like Firefox was properly listed, and up-to-date.
One definite positive to the search engine is that it should draw new users to the protocol, because it definitely does lower the barrier to entry. What will most people do when they hear about BitTorrent? Either try to visit http://www.bittorrent.com or they’ll type it into Google, so either way they end up at the new search engine.
Anyone else try it? What did you think?
Read: BitTorrent Search