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N.A.G. Network Auralization for Gnutella
by Jason Freeman

N.A.G. (Network Auralization for Gnutella) was interactive software art for Mac OS X and Windows 2000/XP that turned the process of searching for and downloading MP3 files into a chaotic musical collage. Gnutella was one of the many peer-to-peer file-sharing protocols that emerged in the wake of Napster. Unlike Napster, there was no central server and no single company in control.

It can be difficult to locate and download specific music (2003): searches can take a long time to return results, and downloads sometimes grind to a halt before they can finish. It was exactly these shortcomings that led Freeman to develop N.A.G.

Essentially, N.A.G. was a simple instrument with which users could “play” the Gnutella network. N.A.G. continuously checked the status of all downloading songs and used their respective download speeds to prioritize song segments for real-time playback while they downloaded. Users could control many different aspects of the algorithm, such as how many songs may play simultaneously, how quickly N.A.G. moved amongst songs, and whether N.A.G. varied playback speed and volume in proportion to the download speeds of each song.