Google's proximity-based Nearby Share features are a step closer to becoming a reality for the Chromebook platform, reports indicate. The feature, which allows Apple AirDrop-like file sharing, is now available for some users behind experimental 'flags' settings.
There are two flags that reportedly need to be turned on for Nearby Share — although they aren't appearing on any Android Headlines' devices. And these appear to be in the stable channel for some users too. So there's no need to swap over to less stable developer-geared versions of the OS.
Here's how to get this on your Chromebook, if it's available
Users will need to navigate to the "chrome://flags" URL to get started. Then, they'll need to use the search bar on that page to find a flag for "Nearby Share" and "Share Sheet."
Once those flags have been flipped over to "Enabled" users should be able to navigate to their Chromebook settings and see a new toggle. That'll be labeled "Nearby Share" and found just under the "Connected Devices" heading.
From there, to share files, users need to navigate to the Files app and share a file. Nearby Share should be listed in the options. But a full restart may be required to set everything in place.
What are the caveats here for Nearby Share on a Chromebook?
Now, there is at least one caveat that's a testament to just how beta this feature still is. The above-mentioned steps alone aren't going to allow every user to share files between their Chromebook and Android device via Nearby Share. Users may also need to activate it on their Android devices. Since this is a brand new feature, it's not widely available.
To enable Nearby Share on mobile, users need to be signed up for the Google Play Services beta program. Enrolling is fairly straightforward but this won't work on every device regardless. For those who want to try it out anyway, the sign up is on the Google Play Store. It's located by scrolling down on the Google Play Services page to the bottom. The beta program has its own card in the UI there.
On Android, Nearby Share shows up as an option when sharing files or media, exactly as it does on Chromebooks.