There are many ways to share files between the computers on your network – simple folder sharing, or cloud-based file syncing are just two ideas that come to mind. But when Apple introduced AirDrop in OS X Lion, it added another way – an elegant, simple means of simply dragging and dropping files to quickly distribute them to other Macs on your network.
The only problem with AirDrop is that you require other Macs – running OS X Lion or later no less – for it to work. Thankfully, third parties have finally come around to developing cross-platform alternatives to AirDrop, and another promising example has just poked its head above the parapet in the form of Filedrop.
It’s still early days for Filedrop – as its version number (0.3.214) attests. At the present time there are just two clients available, for Windows and Mac, with the promise of Android and iOS apps to follow. But even at this early stage in its development, Filedrop is already delivering on its promise.
Like AirDrop, Filedrop works across your local network only. Once installed, fire it up on each of your computers and it’ll immediately display a floating box with all other available desktops (and computer names) shown. Transferring a file from one to the other is as simple as dragging it on to the desktop you wish the file to be copied to.
When someone attempts to send a file via Filedrop, a pop-up dialog will alert the target user, giving them the opportunity to decline or accept the file transfer. By default, all files are copied into the target computer’s Downloads directory, but this can be changed for the specified file transfer by clicking the Downloads link that appears in the confirmation pop-up.
There’s a Downloads button at the bottom of the main window too – this works in a similar way to the downloads button in Firefox, allowing you to open files or their parent folder directly from Filedrop. You can also set a different default folder for all file transfers from here too – say your desktop or a specific Filedrop folder.
And that’s basically it: Filedrop works with multiple PCs and Macs to give you a simple, fuss-free way of quickly sharing files across your local network. There are some glitches of course – despite opening with modest memory requirements for example (under 30MB in Windows), Filedrop slowly increases its demands as time goes on without appearing to release memory back, certainly not in the short term, so that’s something that will hopefully be rectified in a future release.
But there’s more to come too with the iOS and Android apps currently in development. These will allow you to transfer files to and from your mobile, enabling it to be used as a “wi-fi USB stick”, plus there will be options for streaming photos and music from your mobile to other Filedrop-enabled devices too. The apps should hopefully be appearing sometime this month.
In the meantime, Filedrop 0.3.214 is available as a freeware download for PCs running Windows XP or later, and Macs running OS X 10.6.8 or later.