If you’re using the right phone with the right software update, you can use Nearby Sharing right this minute. This is a software feature that makes sharing files from device to device super simple and relatively fast. It’s like what Bluetooth connectivity was originally meant to be… but better.
Per a statement sent to Android Police, Google suggests: “We’re currently conducting a beta test of a new Nearby Share feature that we plan to share more information on in the future. Our goal is to launch the feature with support for Android 6+ devices as well as other platforms.”
Google previously released a system called Android Beam, which used Bluetooth. With Nearby Sharing, Google uses Wi-Fi Direct. With Wi-Fi Direct, everything is faster, and it’ll work with all Android devices with Android 6 or higher.
Android 6 is Android M, or Android Marshmallow, first released in October of 2015. In other words, basically any Android device you’ve got working right now should be able to use Nearby Sharing in the near future. When we saw Nearby Sharing back in January, it was just after Nearby for iPhone was revealed.
With these “Nearby” features, we’ll see the true power of 5G (in some cases) and a new generation of smartphone functionality… ideally. This device connectivity system will allow smartphone users to connect locally, in a way that’s been … technically possible before, but took too much effort to be realistic as a centerpiece of everyday smartphone use.
Now that Google’s begun enabling Nearby Sharing for the world of Android devices with Android Marshmallow (and newer), we can see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be. Cross your fingers for quick roll-out.
To get Nearby Share as early as possible, you’ll want to take a peek at the Google Play Serivces Public Beta Program. But even if you’re signed up for that, and download the Beta app as such, you may still need a Google Pixel 4 to make this wook this week. Cross your fingers and see!