Google has finally made ‘Nearby Sharing’ official. The AirDrop competitor is available as beta version for testing. The feature will allow users to share photos, videos, links and other files between Android devices quickly, easily, and wirelessly, similar to how AirDrop works on iOS and MacOS. The feature will be launched with support for Android 6+ devices as well as other platforms, including Chrome OS, Windows and Mac. The feature has already started to show up in the settings of Chrome OS Canary . For mobile Android devices, it will be available through Google Play Store.
Nearby Share will let users share files with those in their contact list and devices that are near them. It appeared to work best when the devices sharing the files were within a foot of each other. If you aren’t a beta Google Play user, you cannot test the App, unless you download the Play Services beta APK (at your own risk).
How to use Nearby Share on Android Mobile devices:
Go to Share Sheet as you would usually do to share any file. Next, tap on the Nearby Share icon and turn on the feature, choose your default device name and switch on visibility (if you are using it for the first time). The settings can be changed later. From here, the device will search for other nearby devices, which also needs to have the app up and running. The tracked device will then receive a notification that someone in their contact list is looking to share with them. They then have to accept the request to receive the file. The receiver will get a prompt on how to open the file, depending on what it is. For example, Tweets will open in your Twitter app, URLs in your browser, photos in whatever you choose to open your image files in, etc.
There are three visibility settings – All Contacts, Some Contacts, and Hidden. One can also change the sharing settings, that means you can still receive files from users not in your contact list, you just need to be aware they’re trying to share something with you and you are ready to receive the same.
Google has been working on the feature for more than a year now. With beta version now available, Google will further work on any bugs for better user experience and soon make it available widely for users.