Google may be quietly preparing to add one of the iPhone's most coveted features to Android
- Google is reportedly working on a new file sharing feature for Android called Nearby Sharing, which would function much like Apple's AirDrop, as XDA Developers recently reported.
- Google has offered some similar functionality in the past through its older Android Beam feature, which it has since phased out, and its Files by Google app.
- But this new addition, reportedly called Nearby Sharing, would be built in to the operating system and would presumably work across all Android devices.
- Samsung is also said to be working on its own similar feature for Galaxy devices.
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Google could be gearing up to launch its own version of Apple's AirDrop, the feature that allows you to wirelessly transfer files between Apple devices, according to the XDA Developers forum.
A developer said he managed to use the new file-sharing feature, which is said to be called Nearby Sharing, on a Google Pixel 2 XL and OnePlus 7T Pro. XDA Developers also said they were able to get the feature to work on the Google Pixel 2XL and Google Pixel 4.
In the video, XDA Developers' Mishaal Rahman shows how it would be possible to have your Android device be visible to all nearby Google contacts, only contacts of your choosing, or keep your device hidden so that you must manually accept all file requests. Like AirDrop, Google's Nearby Sharing would use Bluetooth to connect with other devices and location services to determine which compatible devices are nearby.
Google did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
The launch would be significant because it would presumably give Android device owners a uniform way to share files across all types of Android devices. Google previously offered a feature in Android that allowed users to share content between devices by tapping their phones together, called Android Beam, but it has since phased out that capability.
And while companies like Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi have announced a standard that would make it possible for device owners to transmit files wirelessly between phones made by any of these companies, Google has yet to launch an Android Beam replacement that would work across all Android phones. The company does have an app called Files by Google that allows users to transfer files without an internet connection, but to do so the recipient must also have the app. This new Nearby Sharing feature looks like it would be built-in at the operating system level, removing the need to download a specific app in order to work.
It's also not the first time we've heard that Google may be working on a new file-sharing feature for Android. Back in June 2019, 9to5Google also reported that the company was developing a wireless transfer feature called Fast Share. Nearby Sharing is said to be the latest iteration of that feature.
Check out the video below from XDA Developers to see Google's supposed AirDrop rival in action.
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