Service Offers File Sharing Over Gmail

P2P users have found a creative way to fill up the more than 2 gigabytes of e-mail storage offered by Google's Gmail: file sharing. A new service created by Dutch student Robbie Groenewoudt taps into Gmail and creates an index of files that can be accessed by other users.

Appropriately named G2G Exchange, the Web-based service does have some drawbacks. It requires users to hand over their Gmail account information, although it can be configured to index only e-mails with certain labels. G2G's FAQ page recommends that users create a new Gmail login specifically for sharing files.

The process also isn't exactly straightforward. In order to upload content to share, users must send themselves an e-mail with the file attached, and Google imposes a 20MB limit per message. Alternatively, tools such as Gmail Drive or RoamDrive that interface with Gmail's API can be used to upload files directly.

G2G uses Gmail labels to serve as pseudo directories, and indexes each registered account every 24 hours. At the time of writing, about 600 users were sharing over 11 gigabytes of files. Because content is located on Gmail, however, downloading is done from Google's network and not other users.

The service is still in its early beta stages and has a number of problems that Groenewoudt promises to iron out. Internet Explorer also doesn't render certain G2G pages properly. "This project is hard to make and to run. However, I'm rolling out more updates than I breathe," he wrote on the site.

But having its generous e-mail offering used for file sharing purposes likely won't sit well with the world's largest search engine. Thus far, Google has not endeavored to block applications such as Gmail Drive, but it could put its foot down in this case due to piracy concerns.

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