Platform: Windows XP
Number of downloads: 30508
BearShare has been around for a while, but we have never looked at it before. Upon investigation though we were pleasantly surprised.
It can be used to search for all types of media (music, applications, movies, documents and images), either individually or simultaneously.
Search results are pretty good, although the more obscure the search term the fewer results are obtained, as you would expect. A ranking is applied to each source to indicate its reliability, but we rarely obtained a best rating on sources.
It is simple to use and downloads are fast, thanks to multisource downloading. This groups multiple sources of the same file together to ensure that if one fails another takes over.
It is supported by adverts and comes bundled with other programs, but these can be removed manually or via the Add/Remove programs dialogue.
Upgrade to the Pro version for $19.95 and all the above is removed, and you get some useful extra features.