Published: Mon, July 01, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Google is testing an AirDrop competitor for Android and Chrome OS

Google is testing an AirDrop competitor for Android and Chrome OS

As an iPhone owner who uses AirDrop nearly every day, it's one of the few features I really, really miss when I use an Android phone. Sharing images and sometimes files to other apps and contacts within those apps are relatively easy on Android but doing the same between Android devices isn't.

More recently, Google enabled AirDrop-like sharing with its Files app. Google is testing a new "Fast Share" feature that would allow phone owners to wirelessly transmit photos, text, and other files to nearby devices using Bluetooth.

According to the folks over at XDA Developers, they were able to access it and shared some screenshots of what it will look like.

With Fast Share using Bluetooth to initiate the connection and a direct Wi-Fi connection for the transfer, the feature will be quicker for sharing large files. The feature is accessible through the system share sheet, or through the Settings menu under the Google section.

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The flow of the feature seems similar to Apple's AirDrop, but its reliance on Google Play Services may limit its reach.

To send a file, all you have to do is select a recipient from the grid of nearby devices. Then, you can pick which device you want to send to once the devices appear in the scanning menu. What puts it ahead of Apple's option is that the list of devices that it supports includes iPhones, Chromebooks, and a Google Pixel 3 handset.

Fast Share also lets you give preferred visibility to people that are frequent senders. It will supposedly be tied to Google Play Services, though, which could leave out even a certain class of Android devices that don't have Google Play installed. Google is known to rip services out of AOSP and put them into Google Play Services, so this move shouldn't come as a surprise. You can find more coverage over at the source link below. Enter your email to be subscribed to our newsletter.

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