Watch out, Napster - it's Scour.net!

Napster and Gnutella have competition. Scour Exchange lets users access just about every multimedia format available, including MP3s

Watch out Napster. A new entry into the file-sharing market has arrived. Scour.net, one of the more popular web-based multimedia search engines, has released new file-sharing software named Scour Exchange.

Like Napster's unofficial competitor Gnutella, Scour Exchange lets users search for just about every multimedia format available including MP3s and makes the files available for download to your own hard drive.

Scour Exchange offers many of the traditional features found in file-sharing software. Users can search for individual files by format and sort the search based on connection speed. There's a file-transfer feature to help keep track of downloads and uploads, and there's a hot-list feature that will show when other favorite Scour Exchange users are online.

The software can also scan the users' 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.

Added attractions

To compete with other software, Scour plans to add a chat feature and the ability to share files even when a user is offline, as well as offering more interaction with the Scour.net search engine.

Since the product is still in its early stages, results may vary when you are looking for specific files such as MP3s. Scour Exchange, at the time of this writing, had more than 400 people online with almost 44,000 shared files.

Interestingly enough, it seems that software piracy may not be an issue with Scour Exchange. While Gnutella yielded a high number of returns in our test for pirated software, Scour Exchange returned absolutely no results when we searched for games and other programs by looking for .ZIP and .RAR files disguised as MP3s -- a problem Napster has recently run into.

Scour hopes to reach even more people by promoting the software through its web site and by encouraging people to take advantage of Scour Exchange's open development program. The company is encouraging program-savvy individuals to develop Scour Exchange clients for other platforms such as Linux and BeOS.

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