After numerous leaks and several accidental mentions over the past year, Google is finally making “close sharing” official. While the feature isn’t ready to launch yet, Google has confirmed that near-sharing is coming soon and even better, already bringing some beta to Android users.
What is “sharing nearby”? Basically, it’s Google’s version AirDrop, a very useful feature in Apple products that allows you to transfer files quickly and easily via any Wi-Fi connection. This is something that Android users have been begging for for many years, and now it will finally come.
Talking to Android Police, Google has confirmed that it is running a limited beta test to share with selected Android users, but the test area is very low. Personally, I haven’t been able to get it in my Pixel 4XL. When shared sharing is widely launched, Google says it will run on Android 6.0+ devices and “other platforms”. As we mentioned earlier, other platforms include Windows, Mac and Chrome OS.
We are currently conducting a beta test of a new near-share feature that we plan to share more information with in the future. Our goal is to launch the feature with support for Android 6+ devices as well as other platforms.
How will this new feature work? As mentioned, it’s not alive on my device, but AP’s Rhine Hazer was able to make it work on his device. As seen in the gallery below, Nearby Shared also determines the name of your device, visibility preferences, and also a notification to quickly enable the ability to receive files, links, or basically anything else.
The ability of both users to send or receive data must be explicitly acknowledged and it will open automatically after receiving the data. For example, an image may open in Google Photos when a link is opened in your browser or an application that opens that URL. The AP notes that close sharing is very fast in their experience so far.
It’s not clear when Close Sharing will spread widely to other Android devices, but the beta test is a great sign that it’s not too far away.
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