Google introduces Apple's AirDrop competitor with Nearby Share

Ruben Fields
August 7, 2020

This new technique is a more stable version of its previous Android Beam feature and uses Bluetooth Low Energy to transmit data both offline and online.

Nearby Share works very much like Apple's AirDrop feature for the iPhone. The first smartphones to receive Nearby Sharing will be some Google Pixel and Samsung devices.

It is stated that the feature already on Pixel and some Samsung devices will come to other devices in the next few weeks.

The launch comes after multiple leaks had suggested that such a feature was in the works. Google is finally launching Nearby Share, a new feature for Android that will make sharing files and content between Android devices easier than ever.

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Rather than having to open your messaging app or a dedicated file sharing app and go through the hassle of setup and locating the right file, Nearby Share cuts down on the time it takes to share a file significantly. All you need to do is press on the Nearby Share button when you want to share something with another person. While Apple got the AirDrop to connect, Android users have always been relying mostly on third-party apps like Share It, Xender etc. Once found, the user can then pick a nearby device to which they want to share.

Once your device gets Nearby Share, you can access the service from your phone's Quick Settings. Just two Android devices that support this functionality. However, do note that you need to be running on Android 6 (Marshmallow) and above. You can stay hidden, available to all contacts or select visibility so only some contacts can drop files in your phone. Google also says that content shared via Nearby Share is encrypted and the user's contact details remain anonymous. Apple released AirDrop in 2011, and it has been an integral part of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS over the past several years.

I mentioned this at the top and it is probably the most important piece to the whole Nearby Share puzzle. Similarly, Android's Nearby Share feature will facilitate sharing between Android phones and Chromebooks in the coming months.

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