Last year, it was announced that Google was working on a feature that should make it easier to quickly transfer files between Android devices. The service was previously called Fast Share, but it was later renamed Nearby Share or Close Share in Dutch. The feature has now officially launched.
Within Android it was never really possible to quickly and easily exchange files between two devices. Until Android 10, most Android devices didn’t even have Android Beam, which allowed you to transfer files between devices via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct using NFC. But this method never really caught on and couldn’t match Apple’s AirDrop, a feature that has been around for years and makes it easy to transfer files between iOS devices.
While there are plenty of apps for Android that work just as well (if not better) than AirDrop, Android users always needed to download third-party apps to share files quickly and efficiently. With the advent of Nearby Share, this should be a thing of the past.
This is how it works
All you need to make sure is that Bluetooth and Location are on. You can then click in the Settings app Google tap and then tap Device connections. Press Close sharing and then on Switch.
Now you can share content with someone by opening a photo or a web page and then holding your smartphone up to the device you want to send the content to. Tap below Search for nearby devices on a device and tap Send.
Within the settings of Nearby Share you can still indicate who can share content with you, for example all your contacts or only certain contacts. You can also keep your device hidden. Your device will then only be visible if Nearby Share is open.
What about privacy?
Google urges users that the Nearby Share feature safeguards everyone’s privacy. For example, you do not have to exchange contact information to share files and the sending and receiving of files takes place anonymously and fully encrypted.
Nearby Share is available for devices running Android 6.0 or higher. For the time being, the service can be used on a selected number of Google and Samsung smartphones, but which models these are was not announced by Google. In the coming months, more Android phones and also Chromebooks will be able to use the Nearby Share option. Handy if you want to get files from your laptop to your smartphone and vice versa.