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Pipe launching on Facebook: Encrypted 1GB file transfers with your friends

Yesterday a story broke about Pipe, a forthcoming app that’ll let you sling up to 1GB of files to Facebook friends also using the app. The big deal is that Pipe will also use 128-bit encryption to mask what you’re slinging to mates through the big green Mario Bros-style pipes.

You’ll only be able to transfer files to friends who are online at the same time, making it ‘asynchronous sharing’ unlike DropBox, YouSendIt etc. Similarly, as the files are shared directly, there’s no need to worry about ceiling limits of cloud lockers, only the amount of hard drive space you’ve got left.

Pipe launching on Facebook: Encrypted 1GB file transfers with your friends

Expected to go live in the next few days (excited? You bet we are) Pipe is also working on Windows and Mac apps plus iOS and Android mobile versions. You can install the app on your Facebook profile here but unless you’ve got an invite code for the beta, you won’t be able to do much.

Pipe: How secure is it?

Pretty darn secure. Transfers are encrypted (128 bits) and no data passes through Facebook or Pipe’s servers, so it’s unlikely anyone will be able to see what you’re sending.

This wouldn’t of course, stop anyone watching (i.e. snooping) to see which users had installed Pipe on their Facebook profiles and who talked to who regularly.

Pipe launching on Facebook: Encrypted 1GB file transfers with your friends

It’s understood that the proposed Communications Bill, will allow UK agents to trace the online activity and interactions of citizens (but not the content of closed conversations, email, Skype etc).

Plus, with transfers limited to 1GB chunks at a time, it’s unlikely that Pipe will be used for sharing huge amounts of music and HD movie rips. It’s more for transferring video clips you’ve yet to upload to YouTube or Vimeo making Pipe an ideal for creative collaborations.

The only limitations are your connection, your ISP – if your provider throttles P2P traffic then you could see connection speeds dropping – and your browser’s cache. Ideally you’ll want to keep tabs to a minimum, not be playing/streaming any music or video and clear the cache when trying to Pipe stuff over to friends.

We’re asking around now to see if Pipe traffic will be throttled/identified as P2P use – we’re guessing that the amounts of data being shared are so small that it wouldn’t be a problem whereas heavy P2P use in the past has seen ISPs like Virgin Media, having to introduce traffic management. 

Check out The Verge’s write up and head over to usepipe.com for more info.

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