How to share files with Nearby Sharing, the Android AirDrop

Share files between two Android devices it has never become quite practical. Google already gave us the Android Beam years ago to share files by NFC, but we cannot say that it is something universal that can be used with any mobile. We can always share videos, images, documents or audios with applications such as Files Go or the great AirDroid, but that does not mean that there is still no native function within the system itself that takes care of such a basic task.

At Apple, on the other hand, they have a lesson learned for years. iOS, the eternal rival of Android launched AirDrop back in 2013, allowing you to share any type of file between iPhones, tablets and laptops in a simple way without having to install anything on the computer. Google has certainly been slow to react, but it seems that it already has its own internal tool for file sharing, the so-called “Nearby Sharing”.

With Nearby Sharing we can send files as well as other types of content –such as URLs- between two Android devices natively. Something that could be expanded in the future with the compatibility of other platforms such as Windows and Linux.

How to send files to another Android device with Nearby Sharing

From the outset, this is a function that sounds very sweet, and you will surely want to try it to see how it goes. Well we have bad news: the feature is not quite ready yet. It is still in beta. Anyway, Google is already testing the application, so we can join the beta program if we really want to take a good look at it and test it before anyone else.

And certainly that of "Before anyone" is quite literal, since, although we join the beta program, Google is only providing the functionality to certain selected users, so it is possible that this beta version does not even reach us. It is little more than a lottery.

In any case, if we want to try our luck, these are the steps to follow:

  • Sign up for the test program Google Play Services.

  • Open the Google Play Store and check for pending updates (from the sidebar, in “My apps and games.” See if you have a new update available for the Google Play Services application or Google Play services. If so, update the app.

  • Note: If you don't see a pending update for Google Play Services, you can force an update by uninstalling the app and then reinstalling it.

If everything has gone well and luck is on our side, we can now share files with other terminals thanks to “Nearby Sharing”. To do this, select a photo or videos that you want to send and click on the share icon. Now we will see a new option called "Nearby Sharing" or similar (in Spanish something like "Share with nearby devices").

Nearby sharing is now available on Google Play services (beta) on my moto E4 plus. @ MKBHD @xdadevelopers @ 9to5A

- Omkar Tamboskar (@OmkarTamboskark) July 3, 2020

As it is a feature included within Google Play's own services its compatibility is universal, not being necessary to have Android 10 or Android 11 to use it.

The 4 keys to the «Nearby Sharing» function

If we want to know a little more in depth how this Nearby Sharing works, here we have a few keys that will help us better understand what exactly this new feature that Google has just pulled out of its sleeve, 7 years later, to the surprise and joy of personal.

  • The Bluetooth connection is used to establish communication between the 2 devices.
  • It works without an internet connection.
  • The two devices need to be close together, but they don't need to be glued together.
  • High transfer speeds if we are connected by Wifi.

In the XDA-Developers video that we see just above we can see the practical use of the utility. There is still no set date for its release on the market, although as you can see in the video the tool seems to be quite finished, so it would not be surprising if little by little it began to be seen in different terminals in a staggered manner. What do you think of Google's Nearby Sharing?

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