Realmac Software – Courier review

friendly Mac uploading for social media and file sharing
Photo of Realmac Software – Courier

For anyone who’s moved beyond sending files as attachments with an e-mail, all this sharing lark is a real drag. You’ve got to remember all the different processes and quirks and forms and uploaders that open the doors to services like YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook, as well as having a separate program for uploading files to an FTP site, something else for your S3 backups and so on.

Courier for Macintosh is designed to fold many of the popular file sharing and social networking sites into a single program that takes care of all the complexities of transferring files and photos all over the world and hides them behind a interface that’s almost beyond cuddly.

Courier’s a real looker, and the designers – Realmac Software, the same company behind RapidWeaver and Socialite – have gone out of their way to produce a program that mimics the physical process of sending something to somewhere or someone else.

Thus, you grab an envelope, drag stuff into it (photos, MP3s, archives, pretty much anything), add a title, description and tags if necessary and then ‘address’ the envelope by dragging any of the seven supplied service ‘stamps’ onto the envelope.

As shipped, Courier works with Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Amazon’s S3 service, Ember (RealMac’s own image sharing service) and includes an FTP ‘stamp’. It also supports multiple accounts so you can set up one envelope to send stuff to your personal Facebook account, another to the company one, another to a particular Facebook group and so on.

Once an envelope’s been filled and addressed you send it and – a nice touch this – Courier actually displays where in the world the file goes. This means for example, that you can watch your photos as they fly across the Atlantic to Facebook’s US servers or zip over to your FTP site somewhere in the Indian sub-continent. It’s pointless but very entertaining.

The amount of control you have over the files you send and share varies depending on the service, so it’s possible, for example, to create a new Facebook photo album from inside Courier, but not a new Flickr photoset.

And there are some wrinkles in its own design: the ‘Deliver to’ option it adds to the Finder lets you send files with a single Ctrl click, even when Courier’s not running (it launches quietly in the background), but there’s no obvious progress bar and no feedback to let you know the item’s arrived safely unless you go back to Courier and check.

Remember, too, that although you can address a single envelope with multiple destinations – say Vimeo and YouTube – the actual contents are sent to each individual destination, rather than being uploaded once to a single point and despatched from there. Along with the services provided as standard, you can download ‘stamps’ for TwitPic and Cloudapp for free, and RealMac promises more of these and more envelope designs to come.

Company: Realmac Software

Courier's a good choice for sociable, file sharing types who regularly post photos and videos to major services like Facebook, Flickr and YouTube and don't particularly care for any of the intricacies involved in feeding those services individually. And if you're more technically savvy, then the right-click 'Deliver to' option that it adds to the Finder sidesteps all the visual frills and lets you just send stuff with a single click. It would be nice if there was a little visual progress bar to let you know that something's happening though.