While several earch tools exist to find BitTorrent material (movies, music, software and other files), the service itself has not offered its own search tool. That’s about to change as BitTorrent launches its own advertising-supported search engine in the next two weeks.
Sponsored links will come from Ask Jeeves (apparently the Premier Listings that Ask sells directly, rather than the paid listing that it carries from Google).
BitTorrent speeds internet file transfers by shifting the bandwidth burden off the publisher, and distributing it among users downloading the file: Everyone downloading a file over BitTorrent is unobtrusively uploading it to other users at the same time so that large, popular files actually move at a faster rate than obscure ones.
The new search engine takes that dynamic into account. It resembles Google in operation, with a simple interface and results ranked by an automated process. But unlike a general web search, the BitTorrent web crawler interacts with each torrent behind the scenes to determine the number of nodes downloading and uploading through it. That lets the search engine order its results by the throughput of each torrent.
More in the Wired News article: Next for BitTorrent: Search. It also discusses the many copyright issues that BitTorrent might face as the service becomes more well-known and material becomes even easier to access.
“I think the search engine itself shouldn’t be illegal, but I think [founder Bram](Cohen) will find himself inundated with notices of infringing material,” says [Stanford Law School Professor Mark] Lemley. “He may find over time that his full-time job is turning off links.” Moreover, being right might not be enough to keep Cohen and BitTorrent clear of the working end of a lawsuit. “I would be very surprised if he didn’t get sued, because they’ve gone after a number of people who have much less connection to infringement,” says Lemley.
Postscript: Prospect of Search Ads on P2P Site Rattle SEMs from ClickZ has a few more details from Ask and comments from search marketers on source exclusion.