According to an XDA teardown from 2019, Google was reportedly working on a new method for file sharing. This new file transfer method was to be more powerful than Android Beam. The Beam service, which used NFC and Bluetooth to transfer files quickly was discontinued in Android 10. Now, again thanks to the folks over at XDA, we have a look at how the new feature will work. The sharing service is as of now unofficially referred to as ‘Google Nearby Sharing’.
It is not known if this will be the final name of the file-sharing service. The feature requires Bluetooth and Location to work and closely resembles Apple’s AirDrop service. It uses location and Bluetooth to pair devices and Wi-Fi to complete the data transfer. The service is also reportedly fast and will rival popular file-transfer services like SHAREit and Xender when it is out. You can check out the video with the feature in action here.
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There are a few new settings involved with Google Nearby Sharing. The first being the ability to toggle who is able to share files to you. Users can either set it to anyone or contacts only. Once Nearby Sharing is installed on your phone, it also enables a quick settings button to quickly open up a panel. This panel allows you to toggle your visibility to receive files.
Google Nearby Sharing: What’s new?
Further, you have three different new settings for how Nearby Sharing will work on your device. Users can choose to use the ‘Data‘ mode to use mobile data to transfer smaller files when required. The ‘Wi-Fi Only’ mode only uses your connection to transfer files when you’re on Wi-Fi. The last ‘Without Internet’ mode will always transfer files offline and will not need a connection to work.
Sharing the files is simple. Once you select a single or a bunch of files in your file manager, you will see the Google Nearby Sharing button. Clicking on this button will display nearby devices that you can transfer to. When you select a device, all the other person has to do is accept.
While the video demonstrates the feature working between two Pixel devices, it was reportedly working between a Pixel 2 XL and a OnePlus 7T Pro too. This suggests we might see the feature come to all Android devices eventually. While the feature is still not publicly announced, we might see it being announced at Google I/O in May, if not before.