Google announces Nearby Share for Android; coming to other operating systems later

Yolanda Curtis
August 7, 2020

Google also said that Nearby Share should appear on more operating systems in a few months, starting with Chromebooks.

After being in development for quite a while, Google has finally started the rollout of its wireless file transfer tool for Android phones - Nearby Share. Google says that the feature should roll out to other smartphones in the coming weeks. This feature allows the Apple device to easily transfer files after they are paired together. There are file-sharing services on Android that are arguably as simple and fast as AirDrop, but they all either require users to either download a third-party app or own a device from a specific smartphone manufacturer.

It's no secret that Google has been hard at work on Nearby Share, a protocol that works very much like Apple's very-handy Airdrop, seamlessly allowing wireless file exchange between devices and users alike.

The icon for Nearby Share seems to be like a pair of interweaved threads or wires (we'll go with "Threads" as that word has an appropriately convoluted history for Google).

Then, one can select to share those files with anyone with an Android device who is standing near. Both phones must also be within 1 foot of each other to share. The receiver will still have the option to accept or decline the file, so you don't receive files by accident. In the coming months, Nearby Share will work with Chromebooks so you can swiftly share files between an Android phone and a Chromebook, and vice versa. 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. You can stay hidden, available to all contacts or select visibility so only some contacts can drop files in your phone. Google said the feature will work with phones running on Android 6 and up. When you want to transfer photos from your iPhone to your Mac, for example, you can use AirDrop instead of a USB to lightning cable.

It will lastly be slightly less complicated to share documents, illustrations or photos, back links, and other material between Android units.

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