9to5Google has now spotted a feature called Fast Share on a Pixel 3 XL running Android Q, and it appears to be an Android Beam successor. Android Beam, which made a debut in 2011, allowed users to transfer data using NFC connections. When the Issue Tracker for Android Q was released in March, Android Beam was nowhere to be found, raising speculations that it has been laid to rest by Google. Later on, these suspicions were confirmed by the search giant.
However, as is apparent now, Android Beam will be reincarnated as Fast Share and presumably allow users to share information across various devices, including Android smartphones, Chromebook, smartwatches, and even iPhones.
Fast Share seems a lot like Apple's AirDrop, an ad-hoc feature that allows users to transfer files between iOS devices over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Fast Share will apparently detect nearby devices and establish a connection using Bluetooth and then use Wi-Fi to transfer things such as files, pictures, snippets of texts, and URL. However, the feature is expected to work just fine without an internet connection too.
Functionality wise, Fast Share also appears to have a lot in common with Google's Files app. In fact, the AirDrop alternative also seems to have the same interface as Files. Currently, the feature can be accessed from the system share sheet by tapping the Nearby icon, which is depicted by a blue diamond. It can be also launched via System Settings.
To set up the feature, all users have to do is enter a device name and turn on the feature. In addition to Bluetooth, Location will also have to be enabled to use the tool. Once that's done, nearby devices will be displayed and when the user selects a device, the recipient will be able to accept or decline the request. If it is accepted, the screen will display the item that's being shared as well as a progress indicator. Once the transfer is done, it will be possible to access the file right away.
To add a layer of security to the feature, Google has made it possible for you to give preferred visibility to people you frequently interact with and they will be able to see your device even when you are not using Fast Share.
Since Fast Share will most likely rely on Google Play Services, it remains to be seen if it will actually be compatible with devices running iOS. Moreover, it is also not known which Android versions it will be available on. However, since it only needs Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to work, it should ideally support most recent Android versions.
Since the feature will rely on Google Play Services, it might not be able on devices that do not come preinstalled with Google Play. On the bright side, the market is flooded with Certified Android phones, so most devices should be able to support this file sharing tool.
There are no words on the official availability of File Share right now but it will most likely be rolled out with Android Q when it's launched in August.