Google Launches Nearby Share as its version of Apple’s AirDrop, Rolling out to Select Phones Now
Nearby Share file sharing platform for Android smartphones has finally been launched. It allows any two Android phones, running Android 6.0 or above, to quickly share files between each other. The feature is similar to Apple’s AirDrop file sharing platform and after years of rumours and leaks, Google is officially rolling it out. For now, only select Google Pixel and Samsung phones are said to be compatible, although Google doesn’t specify what these phones are. More smartphones should receive support for Nearby Share in the coming weeks. The feature will also be compatible with Chromebooks, in the coming months.
Previously rumoured to be called Fast Share, the feature was discovered earlier this year, hidden within Android 10’s code. Nearby Share works in a similar fashion as AirDrop on Apple devices, where you select the file you want to share, choose ‘Nearby Share’ and wait for compatible phones near you, to show up in your screen. After that, you simply tap the device name you wish to share it too, and away it goes. The receiver will still have the option to accept or decline the file, so you don’t receive files by accident. Google says that the Nearby Share feature will automatically choose the best protocol for sending the files that could be Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC, or peer-to-peer Wi-Fi. This will allow you to send files even when you’re offline.
Similar to AirDrop, you’ll be able to customise your phone’s visibility to other devices around you. You’ll have the option to choose from ‘Hidden,’ ‘Some contacts,’ or ‘All contacts.’ Google also mentions in its blog post that you’ll be able send and receive files anonymously too, meaning you won’t have to add someone to your contacts for a one-time transfer.
For now, Nearby Sharing only works with Google’s products that are Android phones and soon, Chromebooks. You won’t be able to share files to iPhone models, macOS devices, or Windows devices; however, these platforms could be supported in the future, going by what a Google’s spokesperson told The Verge.