The creator of the popular online file-sharing program BitTorrent said Monday he is preparing to launch a Web-based search engine that will comb the Internet for sites hosting files for downloading movies, music and other data.
The ad-supported search engine is designed to function like Google, Yahoo and other search sites used to find Web sites by topic and could be up and running as early as Tuesday, Bram Cohen said.
"People's No. 1 question is 'How do I find stuff?'" Cohen said.
Other popular online file-sharing software programs, such as eDonkey and Kazaa, feature search engines that sift through the computers of its users to find a specific file or title, but BitTorrent is different.
The program, developed by Cohen in 2001, looks for torrent files - digital markers that it needs to assemble complete files from multiple bits of data obtained from other computer users.
Locating the torrents, however, requires finding host sites. And while Cohen himself has not been a target of government or the film and music industries' piracy watchdogs, some operators of Web sites hosting tracker files have been forced to shut down.
Users of the BitTorrent search engine should have an easier time finding the torrent files, wherever they are.
"The goal is to get every single torrent on the Internet indexed," Cohen said.
A link to the search engine will be posted on BitTorrent.com. As of Monday, it had indexed or found 60,000 torrent files, Cohen said.