Google to Launch nearby sharing for Android platform

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Google is silently rolling out Nearby Share — its own AirDrop competitor — to selected Android devices in beta for testing over the last couple of weeks. Now, it looks like the company is gearing up to release Nearby Share for all Android devices in August. The company has informed all Android OEMs of its intention to roll out Nearby Share to all Android 6.0+ devices or higher next month.

The feature will be rolled out to all Android devices via a Google Play Services update from Google.

The minimum OS version requirement falls in line with what Google has previously shared in relation to the ongoing Nearby Share beta test. The latter is still being conducted on certain eligible devices and simply requires opting-in for a beta build of Google Play Services. Since Nearby Share is part of that framework, as opposed to some other lower-level part of the Android OS itself, it also makes perfect sense that all existing Android 6 users and newer will eventually just receive the feature as a simple Play Store update package.

Apart from Android devices, Google also plans to support other OSes with Nearby Share. As previously detailed, the feature should be available on Windows, macOS, and ChromeOS as well allowing users to seamlessly transfer files across platforms. By supporting Windows and macOS, Google is hoping to make Nearby Share more useful than AirDrop which only works across Apple products.

If you are on the beta channel of Google Play Services, chances are you must have already gained access to Nearby Share. You will have to manually enable the feature from the Quick Settings panel after which you should see the option show up in the share menu.

In case you are not in the know about Nearby Share, it is a simple and seamless file sharing solution, quite reminiscent to what Apple users have been enjoying for years now with AirDrop. Permissions and visibility for Nearby Share are going to be controlled by a settings menu and closely tied to your phone’s contact list. The main premise is that as long as you have a certain person as a contact and one of their devices is close enough, sending and receiving files with said device is going to be a one-click affair. No pesky Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct connection negotiations needed. As per early investigations into the tech, it appears that, just like AirDrop, it relies on both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi behind the scenes, with the former establishing the connection and the latter actually transferring data, through its higher bandwidth.

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