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Google readies Nearby Share upgrade to catch up with AirDrop

Google is apparently adding a self-share system to Nearby Share that will make it less annoying to wirelessly transfer files between two devices using the same Google account. Nearby Sharing is the closest that the Android ecosystem ever got to getting its own AirDrop rival, but it isn’t as convenient as Apple’s wireless file-sharing system.

The reason for that is having to seek permission for every transfer, even if you were sending a few photos between your devices with a shared Google account. Esper’s Mishaal Rahman has spotted a new “self-share” mode for Nearby Share that will add a dedicated Your Devices toggle to the visibility settings.

Nearby Share's "self-share" mode will let you quickly share files to other devices signed into the same Google account without needing to approve the share.

This hasn't rolled out yet from what I can see, but it's present in the latest version of Google Play Services.

— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) April 19, 2022

The feature is available in the latest version of Google Play Services, but it hasn’t been rolled out to users yet. Once it is enabled, users will be able to share files between two devices on the same Google account without having to approve every transfer.

The self-share mode will make the whole process a lot more convenient and closer to being a true AirDrop rival. Nearby Share will start to rely on Google accounts in the same fashion as AirDrop utilizes Apple ID.

It’s not as if Google gets too many things wrong though. Compared to AirDrop, Nearby Share already has one cool trick up its sleeve — tap to start via NFC. If you aim to transfer files between two phones that have NFC enabled, just open Nearby Share on one of them and tap it against the back of the other phone. The phones will instantly pair, but the actual file sharing still happens over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi waves, the same way AirDrop works.

As for the big question regarding its rollout, well, Google hasn’t shared any information. However, the Google I/O event is just a few weeks away, and if history is any indication, the more seamless version of Nearby Share will likely be detailed at Google’s developer event. Rumors suggest that the highly anticipated Pixel 6a and the Pixel Watch might also make appearances at the event.

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Nadeem Sarwar
Nadeem is a tech journalist who started reading about cool smartphone tech out of curiosity and soon started writing…
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