Disclaimer: The information given below is intended for informational purposes only and not to encourage piracy of copyrighted material.
In the world of BitTorrent networks, P2P networks and music download sites are almost dead. IMO though nothing beats the speed of transferring files directly from a server. You don’t have to bother about share ratios, finding seeders, uploading yourself, etc. Especially for those one off downloads. BitTorrent is extremely efficient at transferring large files but not so much at small files. Maybe not due to technical reasons but because of the fact that torrent trackers mostly list large files.
G2P.org (a take on P2P – stands for Google-to-peer) allows you to search the web (via Google) for files you want. The concept behind it is simplicity itself – it uses special search operators to search Google for files you want in openly listed directories on Apache servers. (On Apache, if you don’t disable directory listing everyone can browse the directory structure – including Googlebot.) G2P offers predefined categories (see its sidebar) to narrow down your search. Once you hit search it opens Google results in a frame. If the results don’t match what you want, you can modify the search expression yourself (although you’ll need to be fairly well acquainted with the syntax used).
G2P is not a search engine but simply a frontend to one which makes searching for ‘stuff’ easier. The data is hosted on by others listed in open directories; you may or may not find what you’re looking for. But for one off cases where you need to download something quickly without bothering about finding seeds it’s a great idea.
For webmasters: If you are a webmaster and own a site, it’s generally not a good idea to keep open directory listings (where directories / folders are shown when the ‘default’ files as specified in your Apache config are not present). Sure, if you’re in a philanthrophic mood and want Google to index ‘stuff’ you put up it’s OK but in other cases it’s quite often a no-no for privacy / security. Rectifying this issue is trivial. Open your .htaccess file and this one line to it:
..and that’s it. This will turn off directory listing for all folders and child subfolders. Trying to access a directory root should return a ‘403 Forbidden’ error. Using this option does not prevent you in using any files yourself listed under any of those directories – if you enter the full path to a file it will still be accessible.
The other option is to use a robots.txt exclusion, but I’ll drop that for the moment because although it will prevent compliant (this is important) search engines from indexing that directory it will not actually prevent the listing in case a user tries to browse using a web browser.