article about peer to peer network applications in eCompany Now [via Scripting News]. I don’t know what SETI@home has to do with p2p, however. It’s a classic client-server app, no? A central server collates the results of the work of a distributed network of machines that send it processed data. The only difference is the relationship between the machines doing the crunching and the server. Maybe I’ve missed something?
P2P is something else entirely – it’s all about eliminating (or minimizing) the central server’s position in the mix. That’s its power – and its disadvantage. It is hard to see where the profits lie in deploying P2P schemes. No harder, though, than divining the profit-potential of the internet as a whole – and that certainly didn’t hinder its development.
For me, the power of P2P is more fundamental than whether or not anyone has figured out the business model to make it work. Think of something like the old Firefly music-suggestion site (which was very cool for its day, and anticipated a lot of stuff people are looking at now). Imagine if people had the option of running Firefly within their net-aware MP3 player. And think if you could make “buddies” lists (like in an IM program) and integrate their preferences to help suggest what you might like. Say you could tell the software, “give 100% weight to my preferences, 80% confidence to my buddies list, and 60% to people one degree away from my own buddies.” Etc.
The trick with p2p isn’t to hold off until the profitable way comes along, just as that wasn’t the case with the net as a whole. The trick is to recognize that it’s there, and that people love it. That’s the world – now people have to figure out how to live in it, commercially or no.