File Sharing Goes Mobile

By Tricia Morente

Advances in communications and technology have brought with it an off-shoot phenomenon that has greatly impacted the way individuals and businesses connect and deal with each other. File Sharing, which usually follows the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) model, has made it possible for people to connect in an instant. It involves an exchange of files between two users: an uploader providing the file and a downloader, who receives the file. The files are usually stored and served by the personal computers of the users. Whereas before it would take days for individuals from across the globe to share photos, documents, videos and music, file sharing has bridged that gap of time and distance. Its impact is probably most felt in the music and entertainment industry wherein file sharing has made it possible for fans to listen and watch the latest music and movie releases in a span of seconds! As soon as the upload is finished, fans can easily download the file and be instantly updated with the latest events in the music and entertainment industry. This wave was started by Napster, a file sharing service that paved the way for other P2P file sharing programs which are now used for many of the same reasons and can download music, pictures, and other files. The popularity and repercussions of the first Napster have made it a legendary icon in the computer and entertainment fields. Napster was only just the beginning. Its pioneering effort in the file sharing phenomenon brought about the rise of more advanced P2P file sharing programs. Kazaa, for one, is commonly used to exchange mp3 files over the internet. It uses the FastTrack protocol and enables users to exchange other file types as well. Videos, documents, and even software applications were made readily available to downloaders. However, Kazaa also saw its decline as it found itself the target of many copyright-related lawsuits. In addition, it has also become infamous due to the large number of viruses, worms, and Trojans that it has been known to support and help spread. iMesh is a social network that also operates as a file sharing system. It has its own protocols for file transfer, and it was also the first to introduce the concept of swarming; that is, one user can download a single file from many different sources, effectively breaking the file down and increasing the speed of one's download. P2P sharing programs like iMesh has brought with it the rise of Limewire, probably the most commonly used P2P application for downloading mp3s and videos. LimeWire is a P2P client for the Java Platform, which uses the Gnutella network to locate files as well as share files. Although a free software, Limewire also offers a PRO version which differs from the Basic Version in a number of respects; the most highlighted being its "Turbo Charged" downloads as it allows downloads to come simultaneously from 10 peers rather than only 8. Swarming eventually led to the development of BitTorrent, the latest rage in File Sharing. Also P2P in nature, BitTorrent users connect to each other to send and receive portions of the file. What sets BitTorrent apart from its other file sharing counterparts is that there is a central server (a tracker) which coordinates the action of all peers. The tracker only manages connections but it does not have any knowledge of the contents of the files being distributed; therefore, a large number of users can be supported with relatively limited tracker bandwidth. The key philosophy behind BitTorrent is that users upload at the same time they are downloading. In this manner, network bandwidth is utilized as efficiently as possible. BitTorrent is designed to work better as the number of people interested in a certain file increases. BitTorrent is ideal for downloading the latest movies, discographies and software applications. File Sharing and the Mobile Web Indeed, file sharing has become quite the phenomenon that it has even carried over to the mobile web. Mobilemo, a mobile web site builder, is among the few mobile web hosting platforms that introduces file sharing features for mobile phones. People from across the globe now find it easier to connect and share photos, music, videos and files with friends, family and business partners. Mobilemo facilitates file sharing by enabling its members to upload their files through the internet and letting their friends download these files through mobile phones at any given time and at any given place. With Mobilemo's file sharing feature, connecting with friends, promoting creative freedom, and keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and happenings have never been this easy! Although still not as advanced as the file sharing programs made available on the Internet, Mobile File Sharing offers mobile phone users the instant convenience of sharing and downloading their files on-the-go. Businesses get to present their latest line of products to clients and partners without having to log into a PC. Mobile File Sharing also celebrates creative self expression-artists and musicians are given another venue to showcase their latest artworks and musical compositions through mobile phones! Fans get to download their favorite songs, videos and artworks as soon as it is uploaded! Although not yet as highly developed as its Internet file sharing counterpart, the future is definitely looking good for Mobile File Sharing!