Product Updates

Introducing Files

3 min read Nishith Agarwal on Sep 1, 2020

At PubNub, we’re always searching for ways to improve our product so that we can better serve our customers. With this commitment in mind, we are happy to share with you a new standout feature: Files.

What are Files?

Files adds new functionality to your chat application, allowing your team and your users to share images, videos, and files with others. Now, when you upload a file directly into your application, it'll appear instantly in your chat. Behind the scenes, files are uploaded to an external bucket and the URL is passed to the chat application. Files messages can also contain a user-defined text portion that can be used to set a caption or placeholder text to display alongside the file.

Key features include for file sharing:

  • Upload and share files directly within the application

  • Save the file data locally and specify filename when doing so 

  • File data encryption before the file being uploaded to the server

  • Default file upload limit of 5MB, with the ability to increase the limit on request

What’s the benefit of using Files?

Most of us use some form of chat every day, whether that’s through placing an order online, talking to a doctor via webcam, or connecting with fellow players in-game. Having the ability to share not only text messages, but videos, images, and files with others is essential—and Files allows you to provide these crucial functionalities to your users. 

According to our recent consumer survey, 78% of those that use any kind of chat expect a chat service to be fully featured and to provide them with the functionalities they’re used to in other consumer messaging apps. If a chat platform can’t meet these expectations, user engagement will drop off.  And—you guessed it—being able to upload and share files in-chat is a key feature that users are looking for.

With the growing prevalence and usage of chat, it’s likely that users will become increasingly demanding and insistent about the features they want. That’s why we’re bringing you this feature now, so that you can continue to meet, and even exceed, your team’s and users’ expectations. 

By incorporating Files into PubNub Chat, your chat solution will be fully featured. This means you’ll have no need to worry about additional development efforts and hassles that come with picking a vendor. We’ve got your back.

What about image moderation with instant file sharing?

A common concern with enabling any file upload feature is filtering any unwanted content that users might upload through the app. Given that images are more difficult to moderate than text, it’s understandable that there needs to be a solution in place.

When working with Files, the same triggers apply as when sending any message using PubNub: once a file is uploaded and a user hits “send,” you can trigger a Function that will capture the message in-flight and apply the necessary business logic you need before it finds its way to a receiver. This means that you can guarantee that any file or image being sent is clean by easily integrating with an image moderation service such as TwoHat Community Sift. This way, you’re able to keep your community clean and healthy. PubNub does not provide a native image moderation service.

Is Files built to scale with you?

We pride ourselves in building functionality that helps our customers easily scale so they can always quickly, securely, and reliably serve their users. With Files, doctors can share x-ray images with patients, delivery companies can share images of where a package has been stored, customers can share product feedback images with customer service teams—there’s no limit to how you can leverage Files to please your users.

In order to ensure we’re not just introducing a temporary, fad feature today, but building functionalities that can serve you for years to come, we’ve built Files to be:

  • Adaptable: We’ve made it easy to add Files to any chat application so you don’t have to build and manage an integration yourself from the ground up

  • Secure: We’ve ensured that all uploaded files are secure, private, and encrypted. And as an extra level of assurance, Files is fully HIPAA-compliant as well.  

Get started with Files 

You can easily incorporate Files and file upload capabilities into your applications today by checking out our documentation.