Need to Share a File with a Friend? Pipe It Over Facebook!
I spend a lot of time on Skype. One of the things I love about it is that I can instantly send files to the person or persons on the other end. Drag it into the Skype box. The other person accepts the transfer and Bob’s your uncle.
Now I can do that on Facebook, too and in some ways, it’s even better.
Welcome to Pipe. It starts on their very barren Facebook page. From there, click Go To App next to the Like button and you’ll get a graphic like the one you see here. . . but not so fast.
First you have to agree to a few things and that’s confusing. Obviously, Pipe needs you to grant access to your Facebook profile in order to do what it does. Got that. Next you’ll see this message:
I didn’t like the word “manage” so I said “Skip”. I figured it was like those nudges you get from most apps that want permission to post to your profile. They’re okay with you saying no. Pipe isn’t. Even though it appears you have a choice, you don’t.
This whole block of text makes no sense. By accepting the permission manage your messages . . . .? I didn’t accept, I said skip. Then it goes on to say it’s necessary and then it finishes by saying Pipe does not manage your messages. . . huh? The Continue link was no help. It threw me back to the start so I could hit “Okay.” I did and then I tried sending a file.
You start by choosing Friends. You’ll get a drop down with a search box. People who are online rise to the top. This is important because once you send the file, the other person has about ten seconds to accept it or the process stops. In this way, it’s like Skype. The other person has to be there when you send it but Skype gives you more than a few seconds before it times out.
Pipe Tip: Use Facebook chat to warn the other party that the file is coming.
If you miss the window, Pipe asks if you want to store the file in a locker. It will stay there for three days. Say yes and the other person gets a notification in their Facebook inbox. You can’t customize this information which is a shame.
The receiver gets a note with a link which they click and then they can save the file to their computer.
I tested it twice and got different results. It said my husband was online but he wasn’t looking at Facebook. By the time he got the email saying there was a file waiting, it had timed out. He didn’t know that. He clicked to accept and nothing happened. He searched his computer looking to see if the file had downloaded with no luck. It didn’t. He took too long to respond. I then tried it with an offline friend. Pipe told me she was away and asked me to put the file in the locker. I did.
She later came and picked up the file with no problem. I didn’t get a notice and there’s no record of what I sent so after I did this a few times I couldn’t remember which files she had and which she didn’t.
Overall, Pipe is easy breezy, if you’re swapping files with a friend while you chat. The locker system makes it better than Skype but the notification system and the lack of activity tracking makes it impractical for heavy use.
You can transfer files up to 1GB and the transfers themselves (once you figure out how to use it) are fast and smooth. So there’s more good than bad here.
Check it out. You might find it a very handy way to swap files with co-workers during the day. It’s not like you aren’t all on Facebook, right?