KaZaA (a napster look-a-like)

So for my first review i am going to take a look at a napster-like program called KaZaA. A friend of mine used this to (try) download some DivX movies. I don't know what it is exactly yet, so let's take a look at their website kazaa.com. On the main page it says:

KaZaA in a Nutshell

KaZaA is a media community, where the community members can share their media files - audio, video, images and documents - with each other. You can search for and download media files with any of our three products - KaZaA.com (this web site), KaZaA Media Desktop and the new KaZaA Winamp Plug-in.

KaZaA Media Desktop

KaZaA Media Desktop is a full featured peer-to-peer file sharing application. You can search, download, organise and play your media files - audio, video, images and documents with it. It has a powerful search engine where you can search on 'meta data' such as categories, artist etc. Search results are grouped together, so the same file will only be displayed once. The application has intelligent download - files will be downloaded from several sources simultaneously thus speeding up the download, and they will be resumed if broken.

KaZaA is not organised like napster, because there is no central server.

KaZaA's network is a distributed, self-organising network. Neither search requests nor actual downloads pass through any central server. The network is multi-layered, so that more powerful computers get to be search hubs ("SuperNodes"). Any KaZaA client may become a SuperNode, if it meets the criteria of processing power, bandwidth and latency. Network management is 100% automatic - SuperNodes appear and disappear according to demand.

The installation

Sounds nice... so I'm going to try the KaZaA Media Desktop... 1.48 MB. Download the English version here.

The installation goes perfect. There is an option to start KaZaA automatically on start-up but I disable that. I hate that

After the installation a wizard appears:

You have to provide a username, password and E-mail address. I disable the option Subscribe to KaZaA newsletter because i get enough mail

After the installation I thought i would get a program but the interface is really nice, and looks like my Internet Explorer:

The search

So let's start with searching some mp3 files...

I begin with Gigi D'Agostino - La Passion, so i type la passion in the search field. I get 18 results as in the next figure:

Comparing to napster (where i get the maximum results: 100) it looks like it's not that much... But who needs 100 times the same file
On the bottom of KaZaA there are some stats for this moment: 4203 users online, sharing 376K files (1684.5 GB). Not sharing any files... So i'm not sharing anything however i have many mp3 files on my hard disk. It's not searching for my mp3 files but only shares files in "Program FilesKaZaAMy Shared Folder". Anyway the stats from napster on that moment: 8582 users sharing 1,711,376 files (7,427 gigs). you see napster has twice as much users as KaZaA. But if you take a look at the amount of files the napster users share much more files then the KaZaA users. I think this is because when you install napster it automatically searches for mp3 files, and KaZaA doesn't do that.

So let's download some file. I sort the files on Bandwidth and i take one with 31. No idea what that's means... It says it takes 15:26 so let's see...

It starts with 10 kb/s and now says it takes approx 6 mins... not bad. The files are saved in My KaZaA...

Let's take a look at the player. If you click on Theatre you get some functions: Play, Pause, Stop, Fwd etc. The player isn't much, but it plays. I hate to use internal players anyway, i always use winamp.

The movies?

You can share not only audio but also video images etc. So let's take a look at one of my favourite movies: the matrix. I searched and i got 56 results. Well there are many titles containing 'the matrix' and also a few with DivX Some results are aggregated which means that only 1 result is displayed but the same file is shared by several users.

A very nice feature of KaZaA is that it downloads from several sources the same time. Take a look at this:

Isn't that nice
Anyway after some trying it's hard to download a complete DivX. This is because users log in and log off all the time, so sometimes it can find a source. It takes some time to download it. But then again if u have cable, why hurry


I hope you have some idea what KaZaA is about. I think it's a nice program, and a good alternative for Napster. The simultaneous download (and resume) is very nice and the look is also very friendly. Afcourse the success of this program depends on the amount of users registered and usage. Perhaps a tip for the KaZaA team would be to automatically search & share *.mp3. Maybe nice to mention they also have a winamp plugin, so you can search directly from winamp. I'd say give it a try, and let us know!

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