Google has announced new changes coming to Android, potentially allowing third-party developers to leverage Nearby Share on their apps. Nearby Share is currently limited to sharing text or media files to a nearby Android device or Chromebook. But the company wants to go a step further with Android 13, permitting the seamless transfer of URLs, pictures, or texts with your secondary device, such as a tablet.
Starting with Android 13, the Clipboard overlay contains a Nearby Share button. This allows the copied text or URL to be picked up by a trusted nearby device. Tapping the Nearby Share button opens a window with a preview of the content you want to send over and the list of devices around you.
But Google has bigger ambitions for this feature. The company shared more details in an I/O 2022 session titled “Build powerful, multi-device experiences.”
“These APIs will also support bidirectional communication between devices so that two devices can not only talk to each other, but also share a common task. These APIs will also be backwards compatible down to API 26, so you can start using them right now. We also intend to support cross-platform development, extending beyond Android to cover Chrome OS, iOS, Windows, and other platforms,” the company said (via 9to5Google).
The revamped Nearby Share would enable Android users to pick up where they left off on a tablet or Chromebook
Examples of this feature in action would be to continue reading a longer article on a larger screen, pay for a movie rental on your television using the phone, etc. Google says it leveraged Nearby Share’s process of discovering and authorizing devices and “augmented it with additional capabilities.”
This, the company claims, allows an app to “join devices in a shared experience” while safeguarding the customer’s privacy. A bulk of these features will arrive on AOSP with Android 14. Google said an early preview will be available this quarter.
Nearby Share has been around for a while, and Google has added new features along the way. Starting in March, users could finally send files to a group of people rather than just one person. While Google didn’t specify the maximum number of recipients, the limit appears to be four right now.