Nearby Share file feature on Android now, Chromebooks in the “coming months”

Well, I picked a great time to pull the SIM card from my iPhone and plop it into a Google Pixel 4. Android devices running 6.0 or better now have a “Nearby Share” feature that’s functionally identical to Apple’s AirDrop for iOS and macOS. With it, you can wirelessly share files and photos between two devices.

I tested it on two Pixel phones I have and it works great. But that’s not a standard use case, of course.

Beaming a file from one person to another is the typical situation, and as long those two people have Android phones running a supported software version, it will work. I’m more interested in when it Nearby Share arrives on Chromebooks, which is in “the coming months”, according to Google.

And by “coming months”, I don’t expect us to have to wait too long. Last month, Chrome Story got Nearby Share working between Android and Chrome OS using the Canary channel.

I’m running Chrome OS 85 Beta Channel and already see bits of Nearby Share on my Chromebook. There’s the experimental flag to enable it, for example:

Enabling it and restarting the browser adds Nearby Share to the Settings options as well.

Unfortunately, with this version of Chrome OS 85 Beta Channel, that’s as far as I can get.

The Nearby Share option doesn’t appear in the right-click menu of Files to actually share the file. And trying to send a photo from my connected Android phone to my Chromebook doesn’t yet work either.

Perhaps I’ll drop down to the Dev Channel of Chrome OS 86, which is currently available, and have more luck.

Either way, I don’t see this feature sitting around in the Chromium Team for long.

Even if it’s just hidden behind a flag for a bit, I suspect Chrome OS 86 will deliver this functionality.

Regardless, when it does arrive, you’ll be able to share files between Android and Chrome OS, either over Bluetooth, WebRTC or peer-to-peer WiFi, whichever the system deems faster and available, making for a slightly more cohesive ecosystem.

3 thoughts on “Nearby Share file feature on Android now, Chromebooks in the “coming months”

  • August 6, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    I was wondering how or why I’d ever use nearby sharing until I read this article. It seems that I would most likely use it if I wanted to take a picture with my phone and then share it with my my Chromebook. At least for the near term, I can’t see myself asking other folks if their device supports nearby sharing and then sharing a file with them.

    So, Mr. Tofel, does nearby sharing actually perform a file transfer from the sending device into the receiving device local storage? Or does it simply create a link for the receiving device that enables its user to view a file that exists somewhere in Cloud storage. Makes a difference, to me anyway.

    • August 6, 2020 at 2:49 pm

      It should go to local storage on the receiving device. It works even if neither has access to the cloud.

  • February 13, 2021 at 7:24 am

    I don’t understand the difference where it’s shared. Not 2 techy. But I am already using a Google photo app that I got in the play store. So, isn’t that an android app?
    My complaint both on my chromebook and android tablet is that I can’t share a photo to a Facebook group unless I share 2 my feed 1st. I used 2 be able 2 do that . Has Google changed something so I can’t do that anymore? And 1 more complaint is my gallery pics from my android tablet r not on the chromebook. how do I get them there? However, I did find that using 2 photo apps was a pain as I never knew where my photos end up. I’d love 2 combine the 2 and have all my photos in 1 place!
    A? Can I use 2 different messages apps on the chromebook? I like messenger, but a lot of my friends use sms messages and my android phone and tablet get cranky if I try 2 install 2 diff message apps. I have 2 keep changing the default. It makes me crazy!


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