Rumors have been floating around for a while now that Google plans to launch a new Android feature that will allow users to share files between devices using Wi-Fi. Originally known as Fast Share, it’s since been renamed to Nearby Sharing, and the folks over at XDA Developers have already got a demonstration video showing it in action.
Initially, the thought was that Nearby Sharing would be a clone of Apple’s popular AirDrop feature, which allows iPhone users to easily share files in a similar manner. Now that we’ve seen this video, it’s clear that this new Android feature really is just an AirDrop clone. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Check out the video for yourself below:
Although Mishaal from XDA has a bit of trouble with getting Nearby Sharing to work when sending a video, the overall experience of sharing files between two Android devices seems pretty polished. As such, it’s very likely we’ll see this feature launch quite soon, possibly at or even before Google I/O 2020.
So far, it seems the coolest thing about Nearby Sharing is the ability to precisely control your device’s exposure to other devices. Mishaal demonstrates that you can choose individual contacts from whom you are comfortable receiving files as well as go all-in on privacy and hide your device from everyone. Of course, going that route adds the hassle of needing to manually turn on the service each time someone wants to share something with you, but the degree of control you have is a nice touch.
There is one missing aspect of Nearby Sharing that isn’t depicted in the video, which is requests. It’s not clear from the demo whether or not you’ll be able to ping a nearby friend to share a file with you. Mishaal only demonstrates the sender requesting approval of the recipient. It’s possible this feature isn’t ready yet.
Overall, Nearby Sharing seems like a great new tool for Android users. According to XDA, this should be available on any device running Google Play Services, which is essentially every device released outside of China. That means there shouldn’t be any issues with devices from different manufacturers sharing with one another.
However, as cool of an AirDrop clone as this appears to be, it is incredibly unlikely that this will work with AirDrop or even with iPhones in general. I suppose it’s theoretically possible that Google could release a Nearby Sharing app for iPhones which could allow for Wi-Fi file sharing between Android devices and Apple devices. But the chances of Apple allowing AirDrop integration with Nearby Sharing are basically nil, so you likely won’t be sending files from your Pixel to your friend’s iPhone any time soon.
What do you think of Nearby Sharing so far? Are you excited about it or is it a feature you don’t think you’d ever use? Let us know in the comments!