Morpheus: full multimedia P2P app?

m.jpgMorpheus is one of those age old P2P applications and, with support for Gnutella, eDonkey, Bittorrent and many others, probably the most versatile you can find on the market. The new version aims to turn the P2P client into the ultimate multimedia application. Does it succeed?

Morpheus has gone through a complete face lift and the new version brings a similarly new interface. The window is divided into 4 tabs: search results, my files, podcasts and Morpheus online, giving you a clear idea of which aspects of the program are considered to be most important. A pane on the left side allows you to create playlists or keep track of searches and videos – although strangely not music. Morpheus lets you also sync all your downloaded files to import them automatically to iTunes. Oddly enough, the chat tool is now hidden at the top of the interface, next to help and preferences.

Morpheus wants to appear as a multifaceted app, not just a simple P2P program. It includes an embedded browser, Morpheus Online, from which you can check-out the internet or find new files to share while you’re downloading. This is particularly useful when you’re looking for new podcasts. By clicking on the podcast page button in the podcasts tab, you will be taken to Morpheus’ own podcast library. While it’s not as star-studded as the iTunes library, it’s full of varied and original content. The podcast tab is wisely divided into podcast and episodes, so you can browse through what you’ve downloaded. However we were quite confused by the whole podcast downloading procedure. The progress bar is hidden in the file window of the My Files tab. Why didn’t Morpheus leave this in the podcast section?

Morpheus has also beefed-up its security. You can now select your antivirus application to automatically scan downloaded files. The program also includes solid parental controls so you can enter hazardous terms into the block list to avoid your kids searching for violent or pornographic material. You can also add a password to make sure you control who has access to Morpheus. The application also introduces UDP technology to improve the performance of downloads and allow secure file sharing between 2 firewall protected PCs.

This new version comes with many interesting enhancements, but not enough to get us overexcited. Add to that the many drawbacks we found in the application: the interface for example is way too clunky, and it’s safe to say that lies in the two large ads at the top and the bottom of the program (which disappear if you buy the Pro version); the “My Files” tab has an additional file window at the bottom, which adds to the confusion in the interface; the one click burning function is something we were eager to try out but was nowhere to be seen.

However hard Morpheus tries at integrating cool features like web browsing or podcasting, we figure the application should only be used for what it’s good at: P2P downloading. The program gives access to all the P2P networks, including Bittorrent, and the new version introduces safer and quicker transfer thanks to UDP technology. The other extra features in the application like the library structure or web browser felt a bit awkward, and therefore failed at turning the program into a true multimedia application. Let’s hope Morpheus gets it right in the future.

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