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Update: Now live | Google's Nearby Share for Android may also be compatible with ChromeOS, Linux, Windows and macOS

A Nearby Share demo on Pixel phones. (Source: XDA)
A Nearby Share demo on Pixel phones. (Source: XDA)
Nearby Share is Google's long-awaited answer to AirDrop, and may formally debut as part of Android 11. However, XDA contributors have found evidence that it may work with other operating systems, so long as they run Chrome. This is because it may have a web UI, which could make it almost universal for file-sharing.

Update: Nearby Share has now been officially announced by Google. The company states that it should work over "Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC or peer-to-peer WiFi", thus making it independent of online connections. It is rolling out to phones with Android 6.0 or later, although it is also to be made compatible with Chromebooks in the next few months.

Google is now thought to introduce the concept of Nearby Share (formerly known as Fast Share) with the release of a stable version of Android 11. This tool is the search giant's take on seamless sharing between devices that may improve on older features within this mobile OS such as Beam. Its maker plans to deploy it via Play Services, meaning it may be available across all devices certified for it.

Recently, a commit found on the Chromium Gerrit suggested that this new feature is coming to ChromeOS devices as well. This would be a major win for Google in itself, meaning that Nearby Share would work across its own platforms, thus finally rivalling Apple's streamlined AirDrop facility.

However, a newer commit hints that the new file-sharing amenity is actually intended to work in the Chrome app: in other words, it may also work on Linux, Windows and macOS itself.

Early demos of Nearby Share have shown that it, like other similar tools, is initiated via Bluetooth, but can then use mobile data, Wi-Fi or no online connection at all for the actual file-share in question. It also requires location permission, however.

On the other hand, Google has indicated that it will have device-hiding options and a proximity limit of about 1 foot, thus reducing the odds of inaccurate or unsolicited receipt-requests.


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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 06 > Google's Nearby Share for Android may also be compatible with ChromeOS, Linux, Windows and macOS
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2020-06-20 (Update: 2020-08- 6)