Anyone wanting to get their hands on Googleâ€™s Nearby Sharing feature wonâ€™t have to wait too much longer. The feature, which is similar to Appleâ€™s AirDrop, is rolling out in the Play Services beta right now.
In a statement to Android Police, Google said, â€œWeâ€™re currently conducting a beta test of a new Nearby Share feature that we plan to share more information on in the future. Our goal is to launch the feature with support for Android 6+ devices as well as other platforms.â€�
What is Nearby Sharing?
Nearby Sharing is a feature that allows users to share a variety of things with other Android devices that are near them. Rather than resorting to email or texting, Nearby Share could be a great option for sharing files with contacts in the same area. The feature wonâ€™t let you blast files to everyone nearby, as it appears to be limited to just those within a userâ€™s contact list.
Files like videos and photos will work with the new feature, as will a variety of other things such as links and posts on social media. Since the feature is expected to be available for the long haul, users will likely find all sorts of other things that are sharable via Nearby Share.
How to use Nearby Sharing
Anyone who wants to give Nearby Sharing a shot will need to have opted into the Play Services beta so they can test out new features (the test is only rolling out to some devices, so thereâ€™s a good chance that even if you have the Play Services beta enabled, you may not see it on your device). You can download the APK of the Play Services beta from APKMirror, though that isnâ€™t without risk.
Once the feature is available, it looks quite painless to use. Users just need to go to the share sheet as they would if they wanted to text or email the file to a contact. Next, tap Nearby Share and turn on the feature. After that, users will need to choose their default device name and visibility settings.
From there, Nearby Sharing looks for other devices with which to connect. Of course, those devices will need to have the Play Services beta with the feature up and running as well. If they do, theyâ€™ll receive a notification that someone in their contact list is looking to share with them.
When will the feature be available for everyone?
Again, the feature is available in the Play Services beta, but itâ€™s very limited in terms of who is getting it. Unfortunately, Google didnâ€™t clarify when the feature would be available to all Android users. Hopefully, Google uses this period to work out any kinks so everyone with an Android 6+ device can take advantage of it.