After months of rumors, Google has finally confirmed that its “Nearby Share” feature is on the way. Some Android users are already testing a beta version.
“We’re currently conducting a beta test of a new Nearby Share feature that we plan to share more information on in the future,” Google told Android Police. “Our goal is to launch the feature with support for Android 6+ devices as well as other platforms.”
The feature started showing up in Chrome OS Canary builds earlier this month, indicating that it will work on Chromebooks as well.
Nearby Share looks to function as an Android version of Apple’s AirDrop. You can use it to quickly and wirelessly transfer files between proximate Android phones. Android Police, which got a hands-on with the feature, says it works for photos and videos as well as links and tweets.
Per Android Police, you can’t use Nearby Share to send random things to strangers. A user has to have the function set up and made their phone “visible” (done easily via a Quick Settings tile) before they can receive content, and they must manually accept a file they’re receiving before it opens.
Samsung has been working on a similar feature called Quick Share, which allows you to blast files to as many as five friends at a time. (AirDrop is one to one.) The advantage of Nearby Share, though, is that it should work with Android products across manufacturers, while Quick Share is currently only intended for Samsung devices.
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