Google officially announce Nearby Share, their competitor to Apple’s AirDrop

Yolanda Curtis
August 5, 2020

The feature, which has been in development for years, allows users to quickly and easily share files, links, photos, and more with each other.

Nearby Share works between Android phones and will work with Chromebooks "in the coming months", but it can't share to iOS devices, Macs, or Windows machines....

The new feature, officially called Nearby Share, has been in development for a number of years and is created to make make it easy to share files across "thousands of Android phone models and billions of people" - and at the same time be a reliable way to transfer files. Nearby Share is already available on some Pixel and Samsung phones, and Google says it'll arrive on other devices "over the next few weeks". We got an early glimpse at Nearby Share in January, and in late June, Google started testing the service with a handful of users on the latest Google Play Services beta release. Google is uniquely equipped to roll out a simple, fast, and unified file-sharing service thanks to its control over Google Play Services, which is installed on the vast majority of Android devices sold outside of China regardless of the manufacturer. After tapping the "share" button in an app, users can share file (s) by selecting the "Nearby Share" option. When you want to share something with a friend or someone else nearby, you can simply access Nearby Share from the Share menu. As the name suggests, it will allow two smartphones in the vicinity to share files, both online and offline.

Nearby Share uses several protocols, and not just a single one at any one time to make its transfers with it "automatically choosing the best protocol at the time - either Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE, WebRTC or peer-to-peer WiFi".

Google designed Nearby Share with privacy in mind.

Google says it built Nearby Share with privacy at its core, which is why it allows users to share and receive files without exchanging contact information.

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