Facebook has a varied history when it comes to the success of its standalone apps. Pipe, a Facebook-based peer-to-peer file sharing app, on the other hand, could be incredibly useful. After one year of developing and tinkering with the app, Pipe is finally launching on Wednesday.
Sometimes Dropbox is just a hassle, and if you’re using the Web app you’re limited to a 300MB upload. That’s about 60 songs, give or take. Pipe on the other hand, while acting as a Web-based medium to facilitate file sharing, allows up to 1GB of file transfers. If you want a quick and dirty way to send a photo to a friend, or looking to send a video file that you and your colleagues have been working on, forget about email attachments.
To make the best of the service, ideally your friend should be online to receive the file. If they’re offline, you only get 100MB of temporary offline storage in a “locker” that can be accessed to retrieve the file at a later point.
Other than that, the service is as easy as it gets. When you open up Pipe, just select the friends you want to share a file with through the “Friends” button to the left. Then simply drag and drop your file. The idea here is that the file pops up at the other end of the pipe, where the file is waiting for your friend to download.
Facebook has experimented with file sharing features before: Last year, the network opened up the ability to share files among Group members, although that service was limited to 25MB.
Pipe is certainly more equipped than these previous efforts, though there are a few caveats. Security might be a concern: Who would really feel safe about their privacy using a Facebook product?
Still, Pipe has the sent files travel from computer to computer – kind of like how you’d use a local network to share files with friends. So, considering Facebook’s vulnerabilities, you don’t have to worry about finding your secret photos or confidential work files splashed all across the Internet.
Considering that the platform has yet to be tested by hackers, we wouldn’t be surprised if hackers uncover loopholes in order to intercept said documents, or that people will jump to conclusions that Facebook would be able to read our private documents.
Mashable reports that a mobile app isn’t in the works just yet, since the team needs to focus on the fact that its desktop-bound Web app works seamlessly. The main issue will likely be getting users comfortable and interested in Pipe. Try as it might, Facebook simply is not a productivity app and convincing users to see it as such will be a challenge.
The app will be available on Facebook’s App Center at 6AM PST.