Facebook has close to a billion users, but chances are you know somebody who isn’t one of them. And sooner or later, that person’s going to ask why they still haven’t seen any pictures of your sister’s baby, or your vacation, or your new apartment, or whatever.
Fortunately, Primadesk has a solution for sharing your Facebook photos with non-Facebookers. As long as the person you want to share with has a valid e-mail address, you can use the service to send them a secure link to multiple photos. And you can do all of this without downloading or uploading anything.
The service works with other online accounts as well, such as Picasa (and through it, Google+), Flickr and Dropbox, to name a few.
Here’s how it works: After you sign up for a free Primadesk account, you then provide your login credentials for Facebook or any other service you want to share from, and Primadesk starts creating an index of all your photos. For Facebook, this index includes your own photo albums, photos from your Wall, other photos in which you’ve been tagged and recent photos from friends. Primadesk presents a list of thumbnails, and from there you select the photos you want and click the “share” button to pass them along to any e-mail address.
When sending the e-mail, you have the option to secure photos with a password, which you must provide on your own to the recipient. You can also cut off access to the photos after one day or one week, and get a notification when the recipient has viewed them.
I love the concept, but a few issues keep me from loving the actual service.
When you sign into Primadesk, it tells you that you need to install an add-on for your browser. This is actually not true–the add-on just enables a couple extra features–so the “need to install” warning seems like a scummy move. Primadesk also can’t list Facebook friends who don’t allow third-party apps, and so it can’t show any of their tagged photos of you. That’s not Primadesk’s fault, but there’s no explanation of this issue on the website, which could lead to confusion when photos don’t show up. (I had to contact the company for clarification.)
(MORE: Photos: Life at Facebook)
The website itself also seems a bit buggy, sometimes failing to register my mouse clicks or taking a long time to load thumbnails.
As for the shared link pages, I wish they had more features, such as the ability to download all files with one click, or view them in a slideshow format without downloading.
At the moment, there are no limits on photo sharing for free accounts, but eventually Primadesk will limit free sharing to 30 files per month, with a maximum file size of 10 MB each. Pro users who pay $5 per month can share 100 files of up to 50 MB each per month, and Premium users who pay $10 per month have no sharing restrictions. If you want to back up any of your social network photos to Primadesk’s cloud storage service, you can store 1 GB free. Pro accounts get 10 GB of storage space; Premium accounts get 30 GB.
The cloud storage business model makes a lot of sense, since I imagine some people will want to back up their online photos to another central repository. Primadesk handles this with just a few clicks. But I don’t really get why Primadesk wants to put limits on sharing. No one’s going to pay for a monthly service just so someone else can see their Facebook photos without a Facebook account, so that end of the business model seems misguided to me.
Primadesk is clearly a work in progress, but there’s value in being able to share photos or other documents from online services without individually downloading and re-uploading them. I hope Primadesk can work out the kinks and make itself an indispensable tool for friends of people who aren’t on Facebook.
MORE: Inside Facebook’s World