Via Tris Hussey via Boris Mann I found AllPeers. It’s a Firefox extension that basically incorporates BitTorrent into your browser and let’s you keep a persistent buddy list. That way you can share your files, media, urls or whatever with your network without any central point in between.
This is a good step towards the P2P Social Networking I talked about earlier. The buddy lists allow you to have a list of your contacts and relations in your browser, and the filesharing component to selectively share stuff with along your relationships. The filesharing is good for providing objects of sociality for those relationships (See Jyri Engestrom).
Sharing stuff on-line with your contacts like that is of course very close to how people share things in their day to day lives. It is the easiest and most effective way to share things.
It is not the most efficient way to share things one on one, if the shared item is popular and gets shared a lot. This is where the BitTorrent part of AllPeers kicks in. It allows you to share efficiently by building on the wider resources, multiple paths and sources of a distributed network.
So AllPeers looks promising. It allows me to share with my contacts along my existing relationships, and uses a technology to be able to make it efficient in a distributed network setting. I also like the fact it resides in the browser. Looking at our usage the browser is a more logical place for this, than e.g. instant messaging apps (which get mentioned often as a vehicle for p2p sharing). IM is about having quick conversations with people, and ocassionally sending pointers to resources that support those conversations. Sharing stuff/files to me at least feels less likely to take place during a chat (but likely after or as a result of a chat).
It’s not in beta yet, but you can sign up for beta testing. I look forward to getting the url for beta testing this, and will let you know what I think of it.
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