Selasa, 21 Mei 2013

[Mobile Cellphone Info] Pipe: file sharing in the Facebook age is about to get real

Mobile Cellphone Info has posted a new item, 'Pipe: file sharing in the Facebook
age is about to get real'



"We've set up the hottest club in East Berlin, and we're going to start letting
people in next week," Simon Hossell told me in an interview last Friday. He's
talking about Pipe, a new app launching soon that lets you send files up to 1GB
to friends in real-time and without leaving a trace. There's no upload or
download you simply drop a file into an onscreen pipe and it pops out the other
end on a friend's computer just like in a German discotheque?Hossell envisions
Pipe as a party, of sorts, because 900 million people on Facebook instantly have
access to it without installing any software, and without signing up for yet
another service. So Hossell thinks of himself as the party planner, but is Pipe
anything to celebrate? The company has been undercover for about a year, and
today were finally getting a look at its app
Hands-on



Pipe is born
Born in East Berlin









"Mario jumps in one pipe, appears out of another, and thats all you need to
know. And thats what Pipe is."While Hossell is no rock star, he kind of looks
like one perched atop a grassy platform with his teammates, Marco Rydmann and
Philip Eggersglss. Eggersglss has a background in law, and serves as the
companys operations guy tasked with keeping everybody focused and making sure
things get done. Rydmann is the designer behind the apps UI aesthetic and
minimalist affect. Hossell himself spent the last several years as Sales
Director of Gracenote (the music metadata service) in Europe, and is now the
teams CEO and head of strategy, deal making, and recently, investor relations.
There are a handful of others at Pipe, but theyve all been under the radar since
they started coding last summer, offering only GigaOM a brief look inside the
app back in March. The team works out of the Kunsthaus Tacheles (pictured), an
artists mecca with a rich hundred-year history in East Berlins growing tech
scene. Were fifty yards from the first Burger King in East Berlin Hossell said,
but now its a two-floor trendy internet cafe swarming with startups talking over
coffee.Hossell connected with the others through a mutual friend who thought
they would get along having operated in the mobile space for years. Rydmann and
Eggersglss had previously created Songbeat, a digital music player that was
eventually purchased by German Spotify competitor Simfy. Once the three finally
met up after a couple months of anticipation, they were immediately on the same
wavelength. We took out blank sheets of paper and decided to build something
from scratch. Marco came up with the concept of the pipe the notion of a direct
one-to-one connection, Hossell recalled. The inspiration subconsciously came
from Super Mario. Mario jumps in one pipe, appears out of another, and thats all
you need to know. And thats what Pipe is. There are plenty of Dropboxes and
CloudApps out there, but the group saw a niche for people who want to share
files of any size instantaneously. What seems to be lacking is real one-to-one
connectivity, Hossell said.







How it works

How Pipe works

Facebook is most importantly the friends list Pipe needs to get started. The
team made a tactical decision to build on the enormous, pre-established network
Facebook has created so users to sign up for yet another service. Hossell points
out that most people also naturally gravitate towards services where you're
communicating with credible identities. Using Pipe, you're not only transferring
a file to somebody you're friends with, but you're transferring the file to
somebody who's currently online. Sharing files asynchronously using apps like
YouSendIt has it benefits, but there are a few big drawbacks most people havent
thought about. First, theres a risk that the sharing link you've sent somebody
gets misplaced and used by strangers. Additionally, managing files youve
uploaded to the cloud can be a pain since there are generally size limits on
uploads and account storage capacities. Lastly, these apps typically throttle
upload and download speeds since you are using their servers."People are
starting to look much more closely at the privacy policies of Dropbox, Google,
and Microsoft."Pipe, on the other hand, transmits files to friends who are
online, hence, these downloads cannot be accessed later by anyone. Theres also
no need for storage or bandwidth on servers, since Pipe creates a peer-to-peer
connection that lets you take full advantage of your connection and never
throttles uploads or downloads. The download progress meter (a bar of light that
fills the rim of the pipe) you see on your screen is the same one your friends
see. But there is one more thing Hossell wants to avoid: data security drama.
People are starting to look much more closely at the privacy policies of
Dropbox, Google, and Microsoft, he said, and are realizing that through
innocuous language these companies ask users to give them all sorts of
permissions for what to do with their content. If you're sending files from
browser to browser, you don't have any of those issues about privacy without
being snooped on.During our interview, I asked Hossell for some screenshots of
Pipe since I wouldnt get to use it for another few days. Hossell couldnt figure
out how to send a file using Skype. "This is making my point better than I'd
really like," Hossell says as he giggles, half embarrassed, half proud. Pipe
doesnt offer many options or bells and whistles to attract power users, but it
does offer just about the simplest way to send a file to a friend. There are no
plans to let anonymous users utilize the technology to share files. In fact,
Hossell is pretty emphatically opposed to the term sharing when it comes to
transmitting files to a friend online. Having worked at Gracenote, Hossell has
developed an intimate relationship with digital rights and is evidently
distressed by the thought of people using his product to illegally share files.
Share has some negative and erroneous connotations, Hossell vented. Sharing
files has come to mean strangers passing things on, and more often than not,
people uploading documents to third parties. We are very clear in our terms and
conditions that we are focused on legal use of this technology.

















The Nitty Gritty

The appeal of Pipe can't be witnessed on paper, but is instead evident in its
visual simplicity. You drag a file from your desktop onto a Super Mario-esque
green pipe on your screen and the file disappears, transferring in real time to
a friend on the other end of the pipe. The file appears on your friend's screen,
and that's about it. "It's simple and it does its job," Hossell said, and that's
the point. "Do less" is the school of thought Hossell subscribes to. "We had a
lot of discussions about the pipe," Hossell said, "and the sense of relief you
get from dropping a file into it. You can feel the volume. It feels like a real
pipe coming out of your desktop.""You can feel the volume. It feels like a real
pipe coming out of your desktop."No data passes through Facebook or Pipes
servers, and all transfers use 128-bit AES encryption. "We're only using
Facebook's handshake that establishes that two people are friends," Hossell told
me. "We establish a direct connection between my computer and your computer."
File transfers work using Adobe's Real Time Media Flow Protocol (RTMFP), which
allows direct peer-to-peer connections between two web apps without either user
having to install additional software besides Adobe Flash. There's no
intermediary server, and there are no limits to how quickly you can upload or
download data. The only obstacles you might encounter are the bandwidth you get
from your ISP, and the 1GB theoretical file size limit your browsers cache
imposes on the transfer. If you have a bunch of windows and a YouTube video
open, the size of files you can send decreases. During my tests, even after a
fresh cache wipe and new browser instance, I couldnt transfer files any bigger
than 600MB, but according to Hossell, there are still a few kinks to work out.
His team has been successful overcoming past roadblocks like tricky user network
configurations and overzealous firewalls.
Should you use this?

Hossell and company built Pipe as a flexible product with an eye towards other
platforms, and thats where Pipes long-term value and utility lies. As simple as
it is, Pipe struggles to find the perfect scenario where youd want to use it.
With small files, email still works just fine, and with big files videos, quite
frequently its easier to upload the file to Vimeo or YouTube and then let a
friend stream it. Plus, since Pipe relies on browsers, which are among the most
volatile of applications, you never know when the browser itself is going to
crash, ending your transfer.Fortunately for Pipe, the technology here is
impressive and doesnt in any way rely on browsers. Apps for Mac, Windows, iOS
and Android are in the works, and will allow users to quickly send large files
to friends who are also signed on. Since these apps will work outside of the web
browser, the only limit to how much you will be able to send is the local RAM on
your device or computer. Since Pipe runs on Adobe AIR, porting the app to a
variety of platforms is pretty seamless. So while Pipe chose Facebook as its
first platform because of low barrier to entry, perhaps that fact diminishes
Pipes utility. Its disguised as a way for Facebook friends to exchange files,
when actually Pipe is an ingenious streaming file transfer platform anyone
should be able to use.





Wrap-up


Wrap-up

Towards the end of our talk, Hossell revealed that his company isnt called Pipe,
but is actually called Pipedream, a humorous jab at the hopes and dreams of many
tech startups. I thought it was kind of funny, Hossell said. Investors think the
joke is pretty funny too Pipedream is approaching its first round of funding
after having been entirely self-funded since day one. While Hossell is glad to
get some help from investors, its obvious that Pipe is a project fueled in large
part by passion and without much outside influence. Hossell said, Were going to
build the damn thing, get it out there, and show its an awesome idea. We dont
need to demo using PowerPoints.So Pipe isnt launching quite yet. Ive been told
that a release is imminent, but theres no set date yet because the company wants
to generate some buzz and finish polishing up the app. You know how when you
arrive at a gig and you aren't quite sure when the band's going to come on?
Hossell asked me, returning to his rock star persona. Thats right now.










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