What is Nearby Sharing from Google

Android versus iOS is one of those debates that you simply can’t put an end to, no matter how much you tried. It does get a bit boring and jaded sometimes, but, ultimately, this raging debate is one of the big reasons why the companies have kept on improving their respective Operating Systems.

While Google handsomely pulls ahead in terms of customization and personalization, Apple is still the undisputed king when it comes to seamless exchange with other devices of the same ecosystem. Yes, Apple does have an unfair advantage in this department, as the company only allows Apple devices to use the proprietary OS. However, ultimately, when we consider customer convenience, it’s hard not to declare Apple the clear winner.

Apple’s iMessage used to be the undisputed leader in messaging until Google came swinging in with its own RCS-powered messages appMessages. Now, you can seamlessly exchange messages from your PC, without laying a finger on your Android phone.

RELATED: How to use RCS

After giving iMessage a worthy rival, Google has turned its attention towards another Apple fan-favorite — AirDrop. For those unaware, AirDrop allows Apple OSes — Mac OS and iOS — to seamlessly exchange all types of files. All you have to do is keep the two target devices close to one another, and AirDrop will expertly take care of the rest.
Android has its fair share of file managers and other dedicated apps that take care of file exchange. However, none of them are as hassle-free as Apple’s AirDrop. Google, acknowledging the lack of quality software, has come up with a solution.

Dubbed as Nearby Search, the service mimics the working principle of Apple’s AirDrop and is expected to be just as effective. Apple will not be pleased to see Google go after one of its sweethearts, but we most definitely are excited to see Nearby Search come to life.

What is Nearby Sharing?

Nearby Sharing — Google’s final answer to Apple’s AirDrop — would allow nearby Android devices to exchange files with one another at breakneck speeds. Google has already tried its luck in nearby file-exchange, once, with NFC-based Android Beam, but it never really managed to entice users. The company ultimately ditched the service in Android 10 and is now finally ready to launch a better, faster alternative.

Nearby Sharing was first spotted in July 2019 under the name ‘Fast Share.’ Google has changed the name and user interface of the service since, but the working principle has remained the same.

How will it work?

As already mentioned, Google tried its luck with nearby file exchange before with Android Beam. While it didn’t require a third-party app and was pretty straightforward to use, it had nothing on Apple AirDrop in terms of transfer speed. Nearby Sharing is set to learn from its predecessor’s mistakes and hopefully implement a system that can transfer large files at desirable speeds.

Techies over at XDA have taken a peek under the hood of Nearby Sharing and revealed interesting details. Google’s Nearby Sharing would first establish a connection between the sender and receiver with the help of Bluetooth. After successfully establishing a Bluetooth handshake connection, the devices would switch to Wi-Fi direct, which would allow them to transfer files at significantly higher speeds than NFC-powered Android Beam.

To establish the base connection in Nearby Sharing, users would allegedly have to keep the devices within one foot of one another. The feature is still in development, so, we will cut Google some slack for the time being. However, if Google ends up launching this service with only 1-foot coverage — AirDrop offers 30ft — critics won’t hesitate to rip the American tech giant to shreds.

RELATED: How to view your location history on Google

When will it be available?

Unfortunately, Google has not announced a release date for Nearby Sharing. So, we have no clue when the American tech giant would allow the service to see the light of day. Google usually releases its latest innovation at Google I/O, and this, too, could be fleshed out at the annual event this year in June.

How to get Nearby Sharing?

Google hasn’t released the feature to the public yet, so, there’s no way you can get Nearby Sharing up and running on your mobile.

In other news, Chinese OEMs, Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo, have joined hands to create their own Apple AirDrop alternative. Realme, which shares a bond with OPPO, will also be a part of the new alliance and take advantage of this latest P2P file transfer protocol. If you happen to have a Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, or Realme device, you can safely and conveniently share files and folders with another Xiaomi/OPPO/Vivo/Realme user. The service is set to go live in February 2020.


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A mediocre engineer hoping to do something extraordinary with his pen (well, keyboard). Loves Pink Floyd, lives football, and is always up for a cup of Americano.

1 Comment

  1. FTP is out of question to transfer large files. Have you tried Binfer yet?

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