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Nearby Sharing: Android’s version of AirDrop could support Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS

Whenever we consider the pros and cons of different ecosystems—Google, Apple, and so on—a nifty feature that is regularly discussed as a perk for iOS/MacOS is AirDrop. Through a combination of Bluetooth and WiFi Direct, it’s probably the most convenient way to transfer files; you’ll have to have an iPhone/iPad/Mac computer, however. As a long-time user of Android smartphones, this functionality has been something I’ve been envious about for ages—and now, it turns out that Google could be introducing something similar soon.

“Nearby Sharing”, as it’s been called, will work in a similar way to AirDrop, which allows users to send files to nearby devices. The feature was first discussed in a video from XDA Developers, and the feature has supposedly been in development for a year or so. Here’s a quick hands-on video from them:

What’s even more interesting is that Nearby Sharing could actually work across multiple platforms—not just your Android smartphone. According to 9to5Google, Google’s version of AirDrop will work on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS (in addition to Android smartphones).

The Tweet above displays the feature on a Chromebook settings page, although it’s still currently in development. According to the folks over at 9to5Google, code for the feature indicates that the Chrome OS version of the feature is the same one as the one that will be coming to Chrome.

This will certainly provide a boost to Android users, and cross-compatibility across most platforms could turn Nearby Sharing into one of the widest-used file transfer methods around. While macOS could be supported too, nothing has been mentioned regarding compatibility with iOS devices. This makes a whole lot of sense, given that Nearby Sharing will certainly be seen as a direct competitor to AirDrop.

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We’re expecting to see Nearby Sharing to be released over a Google Play release, which means that Huawei users could miss out on the AirDrop-like feature. While this hasn’t been confirmed by Google, Huawei (and Honor) phones don’t have support for Google Mobile Services (GMS) and Google Play due to their on-going dispute with the U.S. government.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments sections below.

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