SearchDay is a daily newsletter from SearchEngineWatch.com, having runnning
now for a bit less than three months.
I've suscribed from the first day - very interesting stuff. Archives
available at http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/
In today's issue
The following, worth reading ...
Peering at Peer-to-Peer
"Just as the early 20th-century advocates of psychoanalysis saw sex
everywhere, industry analysts and marketing managers are starting to call
everything they like in computers and telecommunications 'peer-to-peer,'
writes Andy Oram in the preface to "Peer-To-Peer: Harnessing the Power of
Disruptive Technologies" published by O'Reilly & Associates.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies may not have the same appeal as sex, but
they have seemingly become all the rage in the early years of the 21st
century. Though now crippled, Napster is the poster child for P2P, and
its "dark twin" Gnutella has also received a lot of press. The Seti@Home
project is another highly visible P2P effort.
But P2P is hardly new, nor is it truly ubiquitous. Nonetheless, a new
wave of P2P technologies are having an impact in the world of information
storage and retrieval, and P2P is important subject for searchers to be
aware of, at least on a basic level.
In this book, editor Oram has assembled a collection of articles penned by
P2P experts. The first part of the book sets the context and provides an
overview of P2P, and is probably the most useful for the non-technical
The first chapter provides a great overview of P2P models through the
history of the Internet, pointing out that the Net was originally
conceived as a P2P network. Early protocols and tools such as Telnet,
FTP, and even Usenet Newsgroups all relied on P2P approaches. The arrival
of "destination" Web sites changed the nature of the Net, with single
sites serving thousands or millions of users.
Even as the web morphed into a one-to-many system, P2P systems like email,
instant messaging, and of course, Napster continued to thrive. The
ability to share files and information directly with like-minded users,
rather than relying on a centralized arbiter of content like a search
engine or a portal, is what makes P2P systems so intriguing.
Napster and Gnutella allow users to search for and share files with other
users. Neither system, however, is anonymous. Other P2P systems, such as
Freenet, Publius, and Free Haven are similar to Gnutella but use a variety
of techniques to assure anonymous retrieval of information. Moreover,
they provide mechanisms for anonymous publishing of content, allowing
users in countries with repressive governments to bypass draconian
This, of course, makes P2P appear threatening or even subversive to the
establishment, which undoubtedly adds to the allure of the technology.
"Peer-To-Peer" offers in-depth looks at a number of these systems,
including the ones mentioned above and others like RedRover, Jabber, the
Seti@Home project, and others. While many chapters are highly technical,
they also discuss many of the social issues involved with P2P
Although they focus on P2P, the chapters on Trust, Accountability,
Reputation and Security are just as relevant for thinking about
general-purpose search engines. Trust, accountability and reputation are
actually three fundamental concepts that must be somehow be built into
machine-to-machine interactions to fully realize the dream of the semantic
"Peer-To-Peer" offers an excellent look at an important and potentially
disruptive technology that may significantly change the way we search for
information. Though it's a bit technical, it's well worth the time spent
slogging through the heavy details for anyone seriously interested in
learning about a major future trend in the world of search.
Peer-To-Peer: Harnessing the Power of Disruptive Technologies
Edited by Andy Oram
O'Reilly & Associates
Peer-To-Peer Companion Web Site
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Aug 09 2001 - 13:47:33 PDT