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[FYI] "It's a big deal," said Andreessen, who met with Gnutella developers last week


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Napster-like technology takes Web search to new level  

By John Borland  

Staff Writer, CNET News.com  

May 31, 2000, 4:00 a.m. PT  

First it was the record companies' nightmare. Now Yahoo and AltaVista 
might be next.  

The loose group of open-source programmers responsible for the 
controversial Gnutella file-swapping software have turned their 
technology into what they say is a powerful new Web search tool.  

By adapting the same technology now used to swap MP3 music files 
between hundreds of thousands of computer users, they say they've 
created a search engine that can be more up-to-date and potentially 
more targeted than search sites such as Yahoo or Lycos.  

They've posted a rudimentary trial version--what they call a "proof 
of technology"--at InfraSearch. The bare-bones site is short on 
design and functionality at this point but provides a look at a 
search tool that goes beyond the capabilities of most existing Web 
search engines.  


"It's a big deal," said Andreessen, who met with Gnutella developers 
last week and quickly became an admirer. "It will be a way for 
businesses to expose what they want people to find more easily."  

It also is one of the first moves by what has been hugely 
controversial file-swapping software into the realm of unquestionably 
legitimate Web business. That's likely to take some of the legal 
shadows off the technology and could spur a new phase in development. 

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