Limewire makes sharing sociable

Sharing music is something I’ve always done, but I have to admit that the internet has made the experience a bit cold. It’s easy, sure, but not as personal as in the past when it was all about giving each other cassettes. P2P file sharing is impersonal at best, and obviously has legal “issues” when it comes to copyrighted stuff.

For the past few weeks I’ve been playing with the alpha version of Limewire 5, and I’m really impressed. Firstly, it’s been completely redesigned, and now looks ultra modern, sleek and attractive. While you still have the “Upgrade to Pro” pop-up every time you start, it looks and feels much friendlier.

All the features we’re used to are present and correct – there’s nothing that current users will find difficult to do in version 5 – and there’s something new too. If you have friends with Limewire and Gmail, Jabber or LiveJournal accounts, you can share file directly with them without sharing them publicly. Connecting Limewire to Gmail friend lists is genius – you don’t have to even think about IP addresses or any complicated connecting, just pick the files you want to share and that’s it.

Unlike older file sharing communities, you can’t search and add friends from the Limewire network, just use ones from you own friend lists. This is quite a change, and means two things – firstly, that you can have a really neat sharing community of your actual friends, and secondly that you can be sure no one is spying on what you’re sharing. I have read that Limewire is considering adding Facebook contacts to the app in a future release. Considering how many people are connected with each other through Facebook, utilizing that for easy file-sharing has wonderful potential. Not only can I get that warm community feeling when sharing music again, but sharing anything, from pictures to documents, is finally as easy as you want it to be.

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