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Search Sites

Some Web sites don't always have a lot of songs to download, but they'll tell you where they can be found. These are search sites with online programs that search all the other sites for MP3 and other audio and video files. Now practically every MP3 site you can find has some sort of search function. But the searches are usually of only that site or just a link to a more powerful search engine maintained by someone else, such as look4mp3.com or Lycos. Sites with these limited, simple searches aren't what I mean. We're talking metacrawler–an engine that feeds search requests to half a dozen other search engines. Then it compiles the results into a single list for your reading pleasure. A good search site covers as much of the Internet as their indexing computers can handle. Some search the entire Internet, including the notorious FTP sites. Others limit themselves to music on only the Web.

Most don't perform live, as-you-wait searches. Instead, they regularly scan the Net for files with the extensions .mp3 and .wma, and other tell-tale signs that they contain songs, and store the locations of successful hits in their own databases. The advantage is that you get quick results, but the database is not always up-to-date and can't tell you whether any of the sites it suggests are online.

Before you ask, there is not one, perfect, all-encompassing search site. You'll get different results from one search site to another. But all search sites are pretty simple to use. Many of the search engines find both legal Web sites and those suspicious FTP sites.

We'll look at a couple of the better online search engines later in this chapter. But first, we have to confront the bête noire of Internet audio: FTP.

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