Google’s Android response to Apple AirDrop: Nearby Sharing beta aims to make file sharing easier

Google has released a beta version of its long-awaited Android answer to Apple’s AirDrop for sending and sharing files wirelessly between devices.

At the moment, the Android service dubbed Nearby Share is on a limited trial for users who opt into the beta version of Play Services.

Apple’s AirDrop allows users to share files between iOS and macOS devices if they are on the same Wi-Fi network or within Bluetooth range.

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According to XDA Developers, Nearby Sharing allows files to be shared using mobile data, Wi-Fi only or without internet. Users must set up nearby sharing so that the device is visible to all contacts, certain contacts, or hidden. Nearby sharing requires Bluetooth and Location to be turned on.

Nearby Sharing differs from AirDrop in that Android users are offered a file to share through an app that supports it. For example, sharing a tweet would open in the recipient’s Twitter app, while Photos would open in a photo app.

Deployment via Play Services means Nearby Share should support most Android devices.

Google told Android Police that the feature is rolling out in a limited beta, but said it should support all devices running Android 6 or later. Google also hopes to support “other platforms”. If that means Windows 10 support, Nearby Share would become a better rival to Apple’s AirDrop.

“We are currently conducting a beta test of a new Nearby Sharing feature which we plan to share more information about in the future. Our goal is to launch the feature with support for Android 6+ devices as well as other platforms,” ​​Google said. .

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Google has been working on Nearby Sharing for some time, with details leaked earlier this year, as CNET reported at the time.

As this leak revealed, Nearby Share has a quick settings tile on devices that have it. Tapping on it makes the device visible to others with the feature, so users can start sharing content.

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