While there are many channels of communication between friends these days, the most common is obviously Facebook. So it would make sense to allow friends to share more than their ‘selfies’ and mundane thoughts.
Enter Pipe, the Facebook app that lets you transfer files in real-time to other users. The homepage brings back some fond memories, with a Super Mario Brothers theme (hence the green pipe you would enter in the game). While in beta (invitation only) a secure locker-like feature has been added to take into account those who aren’t online to receive the file at the time that it was sent, which is a nice feature. Also, relay technology has been added to help the server bypass corporate firewalls.
So how does it work? You install the Pipe app in Facebook and simply drag and drop to send a file to a friend. You can even send a file to someone not already using Pipe, as they will then receive an invitation to do so. The files then go through a peer-to-peer connection, which means the files are safe and secure. If the person is not around when the file is sent, it is stored for 5 days. This file can only be 100MB in size though, while the live P2P transfer can be up to 1GB.
In an interview with GigaOM, Pipe CEO Simon Hossell said “We’re not suggesting people will abandon other ways to send files,” alluding to the use of email and Dropbox. “This is just such an easy way to send a file. You have access to everyone who’s close to you; you don’t even need to know their email address,” he added.
So how will Pipe make money? One possibility would be a premium ability to allow files to be held in the locker for a matter of weeks rather than days, or for larger files to be sent through that facility.
The desktop version of Pipe comes first, although Hossell said an iOS version was nearly ready and Android may follow.