In this digital age, it’s more and more difficult to keep your information under wraps. Upload an album of your photos on Facebook, and people start tagging others in them, and soon, everyone is commenting on everything. And then there are those file size or resolution restrictions that auto-downscale your beautiful images. Upload videos to YouTube and even if you’ve kept the link invisible to search engines, it somehow finds its way to others. Dropbox isn’t the ideal solution when the people you are sharing the photos with aren’t using the cloud storage service. And the old practice of simply emailing your photos to friends and family is quite difficult given the attachment limits in most email service providers.
Privacy, it seems, comes at a premium on the information highway. How do you just send a bunch of photos, all hosted on the cloud and kept there safely, to your friends without anyone else being able to see them? Enter Kicksend!
What’s It All About?
The idea behind Kicksend is to let you choose who you share your photos with, and always keep it that way. At its core, it’s a multimedia hosting and sharing service like Picasa and others; where it excels is the lack of restrictions it imposes on the user.
It’s not required for your recipients to also be Kicksend users, although it’s better if they are. Kicksend will simply send the files as an email with an embedded album that the people you want to share it with can open to be taken to the website.
Key Features & Performance
What’s the point of having a fantastic 12-megpaixel shooter if your file-hosting service is going to automatically downscale that image? You want the full image because that’s the quality you are looking for, after all. And Kicksend is happy to let you do that, with no restriction on the resolution or the size of the file. In fact, you can send unlimited files if you’re using the Adobe Air-based desktop apps or the mobile (iOS and Android) apps. In the Web app, you are limited to a total size limit of 150MB per project/album.
Note: The Kicksend desktop app for Windows didn’t install on three PCs we tried, all running on Windows 7. A fourth PC, running Windows XP, was able to install it. The app worked fine on Linux and Mac OSX.
Wide file support
Now this one is important. Every file we threw at Kicksend surprisingly worked just fine. In photos, we tried RAW (Nikon’s NEF and Canon’s CR2), TIFF, PNG, JPEG and BMP, which were all supported by Kicksend, complete with previews. For videos, it uploaded AVI, MP4 and MKV, however we couldn’t see the MKV files unless we downloaded them. Still, this amount of support is more than what we’ve seen from other photo-sharing services.
Lists and Comments
There are a few people with whom you might want to share your images time and again, such as a close group of friends and your debaucherous activities that you don’t want anyone else to see. So in your Kicksend, you can make a list of these contacts to be able to send your albums to them quickly every time. And there’s also a commenting system embedded into the album, which is protected from search engines. We tried out posting a unique comment and then searching for it through Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo, and it never showed up. And of course, whatever is shared can be downloaded by the recipients.
Where It Triumphs
The ease of use that Kicksend offers can’t be understated. It’s something that a luddite would be able to use in a matter of minutes. And that’s important when you consider that this is a site you can use to share intimate moments with elders in your family, who might not be that well-versed with technology. For users who can’t figure out how to privately host photos on Picasa or Facebook, Kicksend is a much simpler, better alternative. Plus, since it lands in the inbox for non-Kicksend users, it’s not confusing at all.
And if you are looking to share a large photo at its original settings with someone, then Kicksend is again a great alternative. This is something other services, like Flickr, will charge for, but at Kicksend, we could transfer a 60MB TIFF image without any issue. Combine that with integration with services such as Wallgreens photo printing, and you’ve got a service that could make it much easier for anyone to put their high-resolution pictures to use.
Where It Falls Short
The biggest lure to use Kicksend, for us, was the fact that it advertised unlimited file size in transfers. And we were sorely disappointed when we realised this was a feature that was limited to the desktop and mobile apps. We don’t know why it’s limited on the web app to 150MB.
There’s also a major problem in figuring out when your album has reached the limit. At no point is the file size indicated, so you don’t know which images have been uploaded – all you get is the number of photos that are done at any moment. And once the limit has been reached, Kicksend’s transfer window just froze on us; our recipient got an email with the images, but the transfer window was stuck at image number 99, as you can see here.
This is something that’s bound to confuse novice users, who might just wait endlessly, fearing the uploads haven’t been completed.
Kicksend is a wonderful app to use to share images and videos privately and even to transfer various file types. But it’s a service whose innate appeal lies with installing the desktop or mobile apps for it. The web app, by itself, is still good, but the file size limit makes it ‘just another app’ rather than path-breaking. In the end, you end up thinking that sticking to your current image hosting may be a better option for now, while Kicksend can be used purely to share private albums once in a while.