Cloud options like Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive and the rest of the herd have made file storage and transfers rather easy. You upload something to your cloud account and then share the link with anyone so that they can download the file at their end. But there’s a catch.
Your files are stored somewhere and for whatever it is worth, nothing in the digital world is a Fort Knox. Also, cloud services like Dropbox have space restrictions. For instance, Dropbox caps it at 2 GB for a free account. Then comes the hurdle of upload restrictions. While the Dropbox desktop client lets you add large files, the web interface has a 300 MB limit. Hurdles everywhere and nowhere to go.
Oh! You can take the left ahead and go to zeZebra. The world always needs a simple file sharing solution without limits. The zebra answers the call.
zeZebra Rides To the Rescue
zeZebra is a peer-to-peer file transfer freeware that enables you to transfer any file type (documents, photographs, videos, etc.) of any size to anyone. But the appeal of the tool lies in its simplicity behind the nice looking interface, and the fact that it sets up a secure channel between two parties or more interested in a file transfer.
zeZebra says that it maintains encryption so that the transfer of files is completely secure. What helps of course is that the file you are transferring across the internet does not go through any server. So, it is not stored anywhere and it’s a ‘closed circle’ between the sender and the recipient. zeZebra does not even know the contents of the file that’s being transferred.
zeZebra is a 7.54MB download for Windows and Mac.
Running the zeZebra
What’s your first take on the interface? Elegant? Simple and striking? Well, if it’s any of that then it is a good start and things can only get better as we run with our first file transfer. The simplicity of the interface brings the intuitiveness in handling the software as you really don’t need to go through intricate set-up steps. You only need to enter your name and email address to access the main interface when you run the application for the first time. Your name and email address also identifies you to the person to whom you will send the file.
To start a file transfer, you simply click the large blue Share Files button, browse to the location of the file, select it to begin the file transfer. This message pops up:
Instead of copy-pasting the share link from the clipboard, you can use the share options from the application itself. Check the screen below:
The default mail client for sending the shared link is Microsoft Outlook. zeZebra installs a plug-in for Outlook. But then of course, you can use Gmail or Facebook also to share the link. I am using Gmail and my automatically composed message looks like the one below. I just have to enter the email address of the recipient.
The neat part is that the recipient does not need to have the client installed immediately. You will notice that the shared link has an identifier number that links each user to the file transfer process. The recipient receives the link and zeZebra tells them that they need to download and install the zeZebra application to complete the ‘closed circle’ for the transfer to begin. Once the recipient has installed zeZebra, it will automatically detect the link and start the file transfer.
Both users need to be online at the same time to complete the transfer. But if the transfer is interrupted due to some reason, it can be resumed again (provided both parties are online). The screenshot below could have looked better if I had a few more users to try out a file transfer with…
A Few Settings to Consider
zeZebra is uncomplicated, But still there are a few settings you can check out. From the Plugins panel, you can enable and disable the Outlook and Picasa plugins. Both the plugins can useful especially if you want to send a large file or let’s saw a large high-resolution image from either of the programs. The Traffic panel controls the transfer speed mode and the number of simultaneous transfers to allow.
Profile and Contacts are pretty much self-explanatory.
Size Really Does Not Matter
zeZebra is from the same tribe that includes other ‘friend to friend’ P2P tools like Alliance P2P, Waste, and TudZu. There are just two things which are lagging right now – a more detailed explanation on the security of the connection and perhaps a chat program to enable real-time conversation between the parties involved in the transfer.
But to reiterate the value of the program, I will quote from the software’s webpage itself – No excuses, no spam, no complications, no fee. It’s free, really free.
It really is. That’s why you should try it out at least once with a large file transfer. Then come back and tell us in the comments if zeZebra deserves a place on the high table of our Best Windows Software.