Pipe turns to WebRTC for in-Facebook file transfer tech

Pipe, a service that lets you transfer large files within Facebook(s fb), has rebuilt its app to use WebRTC instead of Adobe(s adbe) Flash’s RTMFP protocol as the underlying peer-to-peer technology.

WebRTC was originally pitched as a technology for browser-based video and voice chat, but its flexibility also opens it up to other use cases, such as content delivery and file transfer. Indeed, a small outfit called Sharefest is already using it for that. WebRTC is currently supported in Chrome(s goog), Firefox and Opera.

For Pipe, which came out of beta half a year ago, the use of WebRTC comes as part of a drastic revamping of the app based on the AngularJS framework. The new version is also simplified and uses a flatter design.

Pipe is mainly designed for real-time transfer, but for cases where the recipient is not online, it also offers a secure locker service for storing the file for up to 3 days. In the new version, that locker can take files of up to 250MB in size, as opposed to the earlier version’s 100MB. Files transferred in realtime can be up to 1GB in size.

According to CEO Simon Hossell, the use of Adobe technology made for a product that only worked 9 times out of 10, due to conflicts with firewalls and so on. Of course, the WebRTC capability in the new version also won’t work for everyone at the start, seeing as they have to have a WebRTC-supported browser to use it, but Pipe can then fall back to its other transfer methods.

Hossell said a mobile version of Pipe would follow in a few months’ time.