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Faroo follow-up: P2P search engine will only work with more users

FarooWhen we first told you about peer-to-peer search engine Faroo last week we promised to reserve judgment until we had some time to play with it. Now that we have, we have to say we're about as unimpressed as we expected to be.

The idea behind Faroo is interesting. The site indexes the web without maintaining a centralized database. Rather, users install a client on their PCs (Windows 2000 and up), and Faroo tracks the web sites those users visit.

When you go to perform a search, Faroo will only search sites that real people have visited. This is both the service's strength and its weakness. You don't get a lot of junk sites this way. But since Faroo is in private beta with a limited user pool, you don't get many sites at all that way.

For example, a Google search for the words "Download" and "Squad" pull up over 9 million results. Not all of them are relevant if you're looking for our web page. But Faroo pulls up just 5. More might not always be better, but at least it's not too few. If Faroo catches on and gets an enormous user base, perhaps this search engine could be great. But as with any social/user-generated software, there's a chicken and egg problem. It's hard to market a product that has a small user base, because it just doesn't perform very well yet. But it's hard to attract new users with a product that doesn't deliver all it promises.

On the bright side, the client doesn't seem to eat much RAM, so you could always install it now, go about your business and check out the search engine feature in a few weeks or months. We've got 10 invites to give away if you want to give it a try. Just be one of the first ten people to leave comment on this post. Remember, we've just got ten to give away, so if you're number 11, you're out of luck.

Update: We're all out of invites, but thanks for playing.

Tags: faroo, search-engine, social