The “Share Nearby” file sharing platform for Android smartphones is finally launched. It allows any two Android phones running Android 6.0 or higher to quickly share files with each other. This feature is similar to Apple’s AirDrop file sharing platform. After years of rumors and leaks, Google officially launched this feature. Currently, it is said that only some Google Pixel phones are compatible with Samsung phones, although Google has not specified which phones these phones are. In the coming weeks, more smartphones will gain support for nearby sharing. In the coming months, this feature will also be compatible with Chromebooks.
Previously, there were rumors that the feature was “quick sharing”, which was discovered earlier this year and hidden in the code of Android 10. Nearby sharing works similarly to AirDrop on Apple devices, where you can select the files you want to share, select “Nearby Sharing”, and then wait for a nearby compatible phone to appear on the screen. After that, you just need to click the name of the device you want to share, and it will disappear. The recipient can still choose to accept or reject the file, so you won’t accidentally receive the file. Google said that the nearby sharing function will automatically select the best protocol to send the file. These protocols can be Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC or peer-to-peer Wi-Fi. This will allow you to send files even when you are offline.
Similar to AirDrop, you can customize the visibility of your phone to other devices around you. You can choose “Hide”, “Some Contacts” or “All Contacts”. Google also mentioned in its blog post that you can also send and receive files anonymously, which means you can add anyone to your contacts without a one-time transfer.
Currently, the “Share Nearby” feature is only available for Google products such as Android phones and upcoming Chromebooks. You will not be able to share files with iPhone models, macOS devices or Windows devices; however, a Google spokesperson told The Verge that these platforms may be supported in the future.