The whole cloud storage era is taking off. To me, it makes perfect sense. The ability to store all of your stuff in one location that’s accessible no matter where you are is a no-brainer. Whether you have multiple computers in your home that need to access the same files, collaborate with clients or coworkers, or need to quick access to your files via a mobile device, cloud storage makes all of your stuff flexible.
In most cases, in order to achieve cloud synchronization, you have to manually upload your files to the cloud or select folders your want to sync with the cloud. In other words, you have to make a conscious decision on what stuff goes to the cloud. You know what that means (If you don’t, wait for it…), there may be some stuff that you leave on your computer that you choose NOT to store/sync to the cloud….And if you believe in Murphy’s Law, that ONE file you passed on moving to the cloud will be the ONE file you need access to later on down the road – when you’re nowhere near your computer.
HomePipe looks to help users access those one-off files that are stuck on your computer by providing a secure connection so you can retrieve your stuff at anytime on any device connected to the web. In addition to just accessing files, HomePipe also gives users the ability to share digital content with everyone in their network by importing your contacts directly into HomePipe and giving them access to the files you choose to share with them.
HomePipe is (and in my opinion shouldn’t) be an alternative to cloud services. It’s actually the opposite. HomePipe leverages cloud technology to create a secure pathway for users to access and share files from one device to another. There is virtually no latency when accessing files as HomePipe compresses, encrypts and optimizes traffic and content for the optimal user experience. In other words, instead of moving your files to the cloud FIRST before you can access them, HomePipe uses the cloud to create a path to the files stored on your computer that’s accessible by other devices.
Once you create an account on the HomePipe website, getting started is as easy as downloading the client to all of your computers you want access to, and the devices you want to use to access your files. HomePipe works on Apple iOS, Android, and WP7 devices, and they are all free downloads from their respective App Stores. HomePipe “Lite” is free as well and it gives one user up to 10 uses/month. That lets your share files NO MATTER THE SIZE, with an unlimited number of devices connected. The first paid subscription starts at $24 bucks/year for one user, but adds an unlimited amount of uses/month and additional features like uploading photos and videos directly to Facebook from your HomePipe account.
Now that you’re signed up and connected, as long as your computers are on (can’t be in sleep mode), you can view, download, and share files amongst your devices. Even if you need to access your files via a public computer, you can log-in by visiting the HomePipe login page for SECURE access (just make sure you log off when you’re done).
I set all of my devices up and I must say viewing my files via a mobile device is pretty smooth. It took a little getting used to creating folders, and moving stuff around via my mobile device, but I could essentially do whatever I wanted to do with the files stored on my MacBook Pro with my iPhone or iPad. I could also stream any music or videos stored on my MBP as well. Of course, doing this via a 3G connection with already shoddy reception where I was had its limits – A WiFi connection was much better.
Speaking of music and clouds, I reached out to the folks at HomePipe and asked them how all of this news about Apple’s iCloud service could possibly affect HomePipe’s use case for sharing/streaming files (music and the like). From their answer, it sounds like they will be alright, unlike some other companies that will be affect (Say it ain’t so Dropbox):
HomePipe has offered remote access and online file sharing from any computer through any Web browser or mobile device. iCloud is Apple’s latest offering since MobileMe. Their iCloud service has some limitations and extra fees. For instance, if you want to stream your iTunes library, they actually go in and read your playlist, compare it and then you can download it to a mobile device. If you have non-iTunes songs, Apple charges you to listen to them. Plus, you have to manage your storage on your mobile device, not Apple. Too much work.
HomePipe doesn’t manage or review your music. You don’t download anything to your mobile device. With HomePipe, you can create a playlist on the fly and stream to any mobile device. Your iTunes and MP3 libraries are yours so why would we want to manage your music? It’s your music! With HomePipe, you can access and share any digital file online without any hassles or hidden fees, and your files always remain private–always.
With HomePipe, you control your files – no uploading, downloading, syncing, or asking another service for permission to share your files…THEY’RE YOUR FILES! Now they can stay in your possession, accessible from anywhere you are connected.