Google Nearby Share has been showing up in Android 11 Beta already, sort of. And we initially thought Google Nearby Share would be limited to Android, but it looks like it’s coming to Chrome OS, Windows, Mac and Linux devices as well.
We are already seeing it appearing in Chrome OS, though, it’s still just an experiment as it’s in the flags settings. But that is pretty indicative of it coming to Chrome OS and other devices in the not so distant future.
Now, normally, we wouldn’t come to the conclusion that it is coming to other operating systems, just because it appeared in Chrome OS. However, under the description for the flag, it says, “Enables Nearby Sharing for sharing content between devices. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS”. So that means it is coming to other operating systems. Likely done through Chrome, as that would be the most logical thing for Google to do. It’s also the software that it has control over on all of these operating systems.
What exactly is Nearby Sharing?
Google Nearby Share is basically the company’s answer to Apple’s AirDrop. Allowing you to seamlessly share files and pictures to other devices that are, well, nearby. Instead of needing to send it over WiFi or Bluetooth, or upload it to Google Drive then download it on the other device. It will share it automatically.
And with Google getting it to work on everything that runs Chrome (except for iOS), it’s going to make it more interoperable than AirDrop. Considering AirDrop is only available on iOS and macOS right now.
Nearby Share is expected to live in the share sheet. So it would be built into every app that already uses the share sheet. Meaning that developers won’t have to do anything to get it to work. Now that is pretty awesome. As most new features do require developers to update their apps to work with the new feature. It should appear at the top of the share sheet, and you’ll be able to send it to a device that’s nearby. Whether that is your device or not.
We don’t expect to see Google Nearby Share working on Chrome OS, Windows, Mac or Linux until later in the year. Likely closer to the final release of Android 11. In fact, Nearby Share is not even available in Android 11 right now. We’ve only seen it appear in screenshots that Google has shared.