As an iPhone and iPad Pro user, I’m thrilled to see Nearby Share coming to Chrome OS and Android. The upcoming feature is essentially a clone of AirDrop in iOS, which is an easy way to wireless share files between two nearby devices. I typically get a Pixel (or back in the day, a Nexus) handset yearly so I’m looking forward to using Nearby Share between my Chromebook and an Android 11 handset.
Thanks to Dinsan over at ChromeStory, we know now what Nearby Share will look like on Chromebooks and how it works. Here’s an early peek at the feature:
This is essentially how AirDrop works between iOS and Mac devices. When you want to share a file, image or something else, it uses Bluetooth to find eligible nearby devices. I assume Nearby Share then switches over to a peer-to-peer or Wi-Fi direct type of connection as that’s what AirDrop does. And it would be faster to share a larger file due to Wi-Fi’s larger bandwidth capabilities.
Dinsan says that he’s also been able use Nearby Sharing via Chrome Canary 86 on a Mac, so my assumption is that Chrome OS will see this handy feature in version 86 as well. And when it arrives, I’d expect it to be an experimental feature; if so, the setting will be at chrome://flags/#nearby-sharing.
Note too that in its current state, you will need to flip a switch on your Android device so it can accept and receive Nearby Share requests. I haven’t tested this in Chrome OS Canary as I plan to wait until it arrives in the Dev Channel; if you’re more adventurous than I am, drop a comment if you try this in Canary!