Amid fears that P2P file trading might be about to die a horrible death, Bram Cohen (the genius behind the popular BitTorrent protocol) has revealed that himself and a team of developers are working on an advertising-supported search engine dedicated to cataloguing and indexing the thousands of movies, music tracks, software programs and other files available via BitTorrent. This project, which will represent the first commercial offering from BitTorrent, will produce ranked search results, together with sponsored links provided through a partnership with Oakland, California, company Ask Jeeves.

Ashwin Navin (BitTorrent's chief operating officer) demonstrated the service last week at BitTorrent's temporary headquarters, a small, one-room San Francisco office shared with Navin's last venture, an import/export firm called GSI Group. Surrounded by pallets of imported playing cards and poker chips, Navin fired up a browser on his laptop and typed "Mozilla" into the BitTorrent search box. The search quickly produced a site offering torrents for the free browser.

When is this wonderful thing happening? Well, the search engine should be with us in about two weeks when it goes live. It will be accessible through the BitTorrent website.