This is a looong rant. And it might get a little out of hand in the end, but please bear with me. I would be very happy if you let me know your thoughts using the comment section below. No registration required 🙂 Either way, I don’t think I’m too far off – even though, of course, neither of us can really tell the future.

My mind really got put into gear with the interview of Bram Cohen of BitTorrent fame on TSS last Tuesday.

So the short version: p2p is not dead. In fact, a few years from now, p2p will be the major strength of the internet. It will be what powers the net. Simply because we demand more – speed and size – faster than what industry and nature laws can make.

Long version: how many times have you not tried to download a file, only to find that the server from which you download has max overload and you are getting a total crap speed? Years and years ago, when we were all on dial-up, this was not a problem, but in recent days, more and more of us experience the fact that we have no use for our hefty net connections, simply because no matter what we try to do, there is but a select few who are able to supply us with all that we can handle. The powers we get into our homes are simply developing at a pace so much faster then what the major web servers are. There is also a physical limit, I imagine, for how fast a single line can be. Although that limit is probably pretty far up there. But the point is: when enough people, like a few hundred or thousand, share this line, the limit is all of a sudden so much lower. So whatever the future takes, the future takes VISA – might so be, although I think another thing it will take is p2p based downloads. In the sense that you grab a file from multiple sources simultaneously.

In more detail: Blizzard has already discovered the powers of BitTorrent. Their latest game trailers are spread solely using torrent files (from Blizzards side that is, services like FilePlanet continue to offer them for ordinary HTTP download). And I believe Blizzard will only increase this, most likely going the same way for the upcoming WoW demos. The cool part is: Blizzard can keep the file on their different servers for download, and the download client will download both from all of these servers at the same time, and from other users who already have the file. So the end result is this: Blizzard gets far less load on their servers, and you get your file faster.

Imagine when services like FilePlanet do the same. Because we all known that files will only get bigger for each year that passes (if history is any indication). More files. Larger files. Faster downloads. Say you grab a file from FilePlanet, a hot new demo, like Doom 8. So this demo is perhaps like 35 GB in size, and you’re on a 100MB connection. The whole file sharing technology will be built-into your browser. You just click a link to download, the usual download manager pops up. And you get the file from each of FilePlanets 50 servers around the globe, as well as a few hundred other people who snagged it before you. Sleek isn’t it?

Could this technology also be used for DRM files? Apple is already pulling out quite a few megabytes with the online iTunes Music Store. What if they did the same for movies? What if you were to download a HD quality movie? What could possibly handle the bandwidth? Or what if the future would allow you to purchase (as in legally download) all your software? I have no doubt it’s all coming. But if p2p was to be used: what would control who could download what from you? The person would have to pay for whatever it was first, and something, somewhere would also need to make sure you could not spread the file further, the illegal way.

One last, crazy idea: what if the entire internet became de-centralized? What if every person online hosted the entire web? What if it was all one huge p2p network? Say you visit, and you grab that page off other online people? And you decide to visit the New York Times, and you get that off a few other people? And all sites and pages are continuously rotated between the online users. A sick idea yes… and perhaps not even very useful… yet… maybe…



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