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Metadata is content related to a file. In most of the cases, one could say "data about data". It includes for example the file size, file type, author, encoding, content descriptions, tag keywords and similar information. In fact, every information that is available about a file (but not directly part of it) is part of its metadata. So for example, the files contained in an archive are not part of its metadata, a list of the names of these files may be, however.
On filesharing networks, availability of metadata is important as it allows to decide whether a file is spam or not without having to download it first. Needless to say, the big amount of available metadata is one of the biggest strengths of the G2 network, which even allows to run searches based on different kinds of metadata.