A newly published video demonstrates Google’s unreleased ‘Nearby Sharing’ feature, something that used to be called Fast Share before being renamed. Unlike Android Beam, which never really worked all that well and was never very popular, Nearby Sharing appears to work quickly in a way similar to Apple’s AirDrop feature. Nearby Sharing is expected to arrive on many Android phone models in the relatively near future.
Nearby Sharing is Google’s method for allowing two Android smartphones or tablets to quickly share content between devices. This method will be faster and easier than Android Beam, which was never marketed in any significant way and had a habit of being buggy.
Though Nearby Sharing isn’t available to everyone yet, XDA reports that developer Quinny899 was able to activate it on his device, making it possible for the publication to activate it on their own devices — a pair of Pixel 4 and Pixel 2 XL handsets, in this case.
As demonstrated in the video above, the feature allows users to choose what name other users will see when checking out nearby devices; as well, the user will be able to choose whether all of their Google contacts can view that the device is nearby, only certain people, or they can make their device hidden so that it isn’t generally visible to everyone.
The feature uses WiFi to share content, meaning it quickly transfers from one handset to another. This is much faster and less buggy than using Bluetooth for file transfers. The Nearby Sharing feature is readily accessible in the phone’s Quick Settings, though assuming the user makes their handset visible, they won’t need to access the settings for it too often. It’s unclear when exactly Google plans to make the feature available for everyone.