Google is finally rolling out its Nearby Share feature for Android devices. It’s a quick sharing tool that mirrors the functionality of Apple’s AirDrop, with some additional connectivity smarts.
The tool is on its way to all Android 6.0 devices and above, enables the easy sharing of files, links, photos, videos and other content between Android devices in each other’s immediate vicinity.
As with Apple’s AirDrop, the Nearby Share feature works whether the user is offline or online, but has the advantage of using the best-availability connectivity between the two devices.
The Nearby Share icon will sit within the regular share menu in Android and, just like AirDrop, requires the recipient to accept the file before the transfer can commence.
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The default connection is Bluetooth, but Google says a digital handshake between the two phones will establish whether it can be upgraded to a superior alternative. The feature is compatible with Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, NFC, WebRTC or Wi-Fi direct or Wi-Fi hotspot.
Google says that the feature was one of the most requested features from the community, but explains that building it was a challenge to build because of the large number of devices in the mix. You can see product manager Daniel Marcos, who also promises the feature is coming to more platforms in the future, explain the Nearby Share in the video below:
Marcos says the data is fully encrypted at both ends and contact information is never shared with either party. Google has also built the feature so users can choose to open it up to some or all of their contacts.
You should begin to see the long-tipped feature in the coming weeks as Google rolls it out to Android devices around the world. For now it is thought Pixel and select Samsung devices will get first dibs. The feature is a long time coming, considering Apple users have had access to AirDrop since the launch of iOS 7 – almost a decade ago.