After some time as a limited beta, which recently expanded to more testers, Google has today announced that it is rolling out Nearby Share – an AirDrop competitor – to Android 6.0 phones and newer. The search giant says that the feature has been in development for years and that it has been a highly requested feature. The feature lets users easily share “files, links, pictures, and more” with other Android users.
The company says that the feature negates the need to go through the long process of searching for a contact, selecting files, and other steps when users want to share files or other content with someone in close proximity. Nearby Share “automatically chooses the best protocol for fast and easy sharing using Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC or peer-to-peer WiFi”, letting users share content even when they are offline.
The feature also boasts of privacy controls that let users share anonymously, for those that are wary of sharing contact information. It also lets users set their visibility depending on their choice to avoid unsolicited transfers. The functionality lets users set themselves to “hidden,” visible to “some contacts” or visible to “all contacts”. The Mountain View company also confirmed that it will be bringing Nearby Share to Chromebooks “in the coming months”, making it easier to share files between Android devices and Chromebooks.
Nearby Share will begin rolling out to select Pixel and Samsung phones first. The firm adds that it is working with its partners to bring the feature to more devices in the coming week. It is interesting to see the feature roll out to Samsung devices first since select devices from that OEM already offer an alternative to the feature called Quick Share.
Regardless, the addition of the feature to other phones will be a welcome addition since there has been no native solution since the deprecation of Android Beam.