Google is now reportedly piloting Fast Share, an AirDrop alternative
New reports suggest that Google is working on a new way to enable file-sharing between devices. There may be a need for such a feature, particularly on Android phones, that rivals others such as the AirDrop found on Apple devices. On the other hand, Android Beam, a setting built into many non-iOS phones by default, could also fit that bill. Unfortunately, other reports indicate that it will be phased out in the next major version of this OS.
Android Beam operates using the near-field communication (NFC) module found in many modern-day smartphones or tablets, and thus offers the option of quick, convenient file-sharing that doesn't depend on an online connections.
Google's purported planned next generation of this concept, Fast Share, uses Bluetooth (and also GPS); however, it also reportedly sets up a Wi-Fi Direct connection between devices after establishing this link.
Google Fast Share is currently available as a beta of sorts, and had originally been picked up as such by 9to5Google, and by XDA soon thereafter. These outlets have demonstrated that it has a simple, intuitive interface - not hugely unlike AirDrop, in fact. It contains clear menus and pathways by which the user identifies and specifies a target for the file-share.
This process may elicit some security concerns; however, the feature also contains options for "preferred visibility", which may impose limits on who can send what to a given device. To date, it is not clear whether this new Fast Share will be cross-platform or not.
Then again, correspondents have noted that devices such as "iPhone", "smartwatch" and "Chromebook" are included among the default targets within this new interface. On the other hand, XDA contributors have also observed that the presence of the app Google Play Services is required to run the software involved.