There is plenty of files-transfer apps on the Google Play Store. Yet, hardly any of them cut as a robust and reliable solution. Even, Google’s attempts like the NFC-based Android Beam and Files Go failed to leave a lasting mark. In a nutshell, Android file-sharing options are all over the place. On the other hand, we have AirDrop on the Apple side of things, which lets its users transfer files across iPhones, iPads, and Macs seamlessly. Its high time that Android had something like this. Well, it seems you won’t have to wait longer as apparently, Google is up to something, again!
Nearby Share, which was earlier called Fast Share, is what Google is currently cooking to take on Apple’s AirDrop. You can access it from the Android share menu and use it to share files, text snips, URLs, etc wirelessly to nearby devices, all without the internet.
Although, Nearby Share has been under development for months now, recently, it has got a new icon and few changes in the overall user interface. So, let’s check out what’s new and how it all works.
Nearby Share/Fast Share: Here’s how it works!
Nearby Share sits within the Connection preferences section within your phone’s settings.
As a prerequisite, do enable Bluetooth and Location on both the sender and recipient’s device. It also goes without saying that both devices must be in close proximity.
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Having done that, the further process is fairly simple. Here are the steps to share files using Nearby Share:
- For file transfer, first of all, tap on the Nearby Share icon. It is still a blue colored icon but the design has been slightly tweaked, which is apparent in the above screenshots.
2. Next up, the system will prompt you to activate Nearby Share.
3. Ensure the device visibility is set for all the nearby contacts for optimum performance. Alternatively, you can choose to share it with some contacts.
On a side note, you can also assign Preferred Visibility status to frequent senders. This can be controlled from the Android wheel menu at the top-right corner. Such contacts will see you nearby even if you’re not Nearby Share at the moment.
4. The sending and receiving process is fairly similar to file sharing via Bluetooth. The sender will select the contact with whom he/she wants to share and the other device will get a notification. Upon acceptance, the transfer will begin. You can view the progress right from an overlay at the bottom.
From the looks of it, Nearby Share seems a minimal approach to file sharing on the Android ecosystem. Plus it doesn’t seem to be tied to Pixel phones as it’s based on Google Play services. For example, in the above image, we can see a Chromebook, a smartwatch and even an iPhone in the list of dummy devices. Ergo, it is likely to function across the board and seems quite a handy feature to have, at least on paper.
Fingers crossed! Let’s see how it turns out in reality.