KEY POINTS

  • Google renames Fast Share to Nearby Sharing
  • New file sharing feature will be like Apple's AirDrop
  • Nearby Sharing is likely to be faster than Android Beam

Android users have always found sharing files a bit of a hassle. One of the reasons, iPhone users hesitate to switch to Android is AirDrop. This service works flawlessly in the Apple ecosystem without the need for any third-party apps. Google’s new service, Nearby Sharing is set to facilitate easy file sharing among Android users.

Earlier, Android had an NFC-based service for file sharing called Android Beam, however, the feature was discontinued in Android 10. Now, this missing feature of file sharing in the Android ecosystem encouraged Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi to team up and announce their own AirDrop-like feature.

However, Google has been working on developing a service like AirDrop. It has now been renamed to Nearby Sharing. Meanwhile, XDA has shared an APK teardown of Nearby Sharing suggesting the features Android users might get in the future as a file transfer solution.

Google’s upcoming file sharing service uses Bluetooth to establish a connection between two devices and then share files over a Wi-Fi connection. Nearby Sharing is likely to be faster than its predecessor, Android Beam. Google is yet to release or announce this service in Android devices.

Since its inception, the feature has seen its share of tweaks and changes. Back in September 2019, its position in the Settings menu was revamped and in November 2019, it received a new icon along with few UI changes.

Meanwhile, in Google Play Services v20.1.03, the service has been renamed from Fast Share to Nearby Sharing. Moreover, it has been revealed that both the Android devices need to be within one foot of each other to facilitate the sharing process.

“Make sure both devices are unlocked, close together (within 1 ft), and have Bluetooth and location turned on,” reads the share sheet. There is no formal announcement from Google as to when Android users can expect this feature on their devices. It has to be seen if Nearby Sharing will be dropped in a monthly Google Play Services update or with the new version of OS that is Android 11.

A former Google executive who left the company to run for US Senate said tech giants need to be subject to tougher government oversight A former Google executive who left the company to run for US Senate said tech giants need to be subject to tougher government oversight Photo: AFP / Tobias SCHWARZ