Many of us expected Nearby Share to be an Android 11 feature, but that's not the case. Google is rolling Nearby Share out to everyone running Android 6.0 or newer. And considering Android 6.0 came out nearly five years ago, that means most people are going to have Nearby Share.
Nearby Share will be part of the Google Play Services update, so that you don't need an OTA to get it.
What is Nearby Share?
It is essentially Android's version of Apple's AirDrop.
Nearby Share is going to allow you to share files with the people around you, without having to tap your phones together. Anyone that's been using Android for a long time might remember using NFC to transfer files between phones.
Google says you can share files, links, pictures and much more with the people around you, while keeping your privacy in tact.
Nearby Share is built into the Share sheet. There's going to be a new button that is next to the "Copy" button below the link or picture you are looking to share. From there you will be able to adjust settings before making it available to share with anyone. Like your device's name, and device visibility. So you can share it with anyone (literally) or only those in your contact list. Or even a specific contact.
The other person will be notified with the option to either accept or deny the file.
Nearby Share also uses the best protocol automatically. This could be Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC or even peer-to-peer WiFi. Which will allow you to share when you have no internet at all.
What platforms does it work with?
Nearby Share works with other Android devices of course, but Google has also built it into Chrome. And where Chrome is available on basically every platform, that means it will work with everything.
That includes Chromebooks, Windows, macOS and Linux. It may not work with iPhone yet, but Google is likely working on that.
This alone makes Nearby Share a lot more impressive than AirDrop, seeing as it is available on non-Google devices. Where AirDrop is only available on Apple devices like the iPad, iPhone and Mac.
You should already see Nearby Share available on your device (simply tap the share button on a link or anything). If not, you'll see it roll out to your device in the very near future. We're talking days and not weeks here.