RealTime IT News

Morpheus 2.0 Takes E-Commerce Plunge

StreamCast Networks has added an e-commerce platform to the latest version of the Morpheus peer-to-peer network as it looks to position the popular file-sharing client as a potential money-earner.

The latest move to put a storefront within the Morpheus 2.0 upgrade again puts the P2P space at the front and center of the debate into the legitimacy of the rogue networks, which have grown in popularity among the file-sharing crowd.

StreamCast, a target of the recording industry in the ongoing legal brouhaha over the sharing of digital music files, said the e-commerce portal built into the Morpheus client would feature goods from partner companies.

The Morpheus Commerce Platform has been fitted with online payment technology from iBill that lets consumers bill monthly recurring charges directly. To get started, file-sharing fans must deposit $5.00 in a Morpheus Wallet to make micro-payment purchases.

Another ambitious addition to the P2P client is Morpheus Tix, a feature that hawks and delivers tickets to sporting events, music concerts and Broadway shows. While it seems a logical step to use the popular network to push tickets and e-commerce items, companies on the P2P bandwagon have found it near impossible to make money by targeting consumers.

Morpheus, which competes directly with KaZaA, BearShare and Blubster, has also found the going very tough in recent months. The patent company, Franklin, Tennesee-based StreamCast has cut staff and rejiggered the business plan to inject life into Morpheus but, among a crowd of freeloaders, making money from file-sharing networks is never a sure thing.

"We're confident that Morpheus 2.0 is the best peer-to-peer software application on the market today," said StreamCast CTO Darrell Smith. He said the new iteration of the software continues to use the gnutella open-source network but was "redesigned from the ground up to include important innovations over earlier gnutella products."

The long-awaited upgrade, which was delayed after technical glitches forced Morpheus offline includes spiffy new features like file bundling, query routing, download swarming and metadata catalogues.

A big hit among users in the upgrade is the search power meter that displays the strength of a user's connection to the P2P network. This helps to figure out which files can be downloaded fastest and without interruption once a user performs a search and gets hundreds of results.

StreamCast said the targeted search functionality allows users to search by file type including audio, documents, images, software, and video. It can run multiple searches simultaneously and target search results based on a user's connection strength.

It also adds a Morpheus Media Manager that lets users manage downloaded files. All downloads and shared files are automatically organized in folders so that they can be sifted. The folders are divided by category: documents, audio, images, video and software.

Morpheus, which claims more than 100 million downloads worldwide, recently inked a deal with security software firm McAfee to distribute the SecurityCenter anti-virus product within its P2P client.