When Google launched Nearby Share in 2020, Android users were delighted everywhere. They finally had a tool to compete with Apple’s AirDrop, a simple way to move files between devices without having to attach them to an email or upload them to Google Drive just to download them again on a new device.
Now, ahead of Google I / O, a few users have noticed an upgrade lurking in Google Play Services that makes Nearby Share even easier. The new “self-sharing” mode, which spotted by Espers Mishaal Rahman (via Android police), appears to let you send files between your own devices with a single touch. The feature has been rumored for several months, but now it seems to be much closer to being ready.
Nearby Share’s “self-sharing” mode allows you to quickly share files to other devices signed in to the same Google Account without having to authorize sharing.
This has not been rolled out yet as far as I can see, but it is present in the latest version of Google Play Services. pic.twitter.com/wdtxoiE2oz
– Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) April 19, 2022
Until now, Google has required the recipient of a share to accept it, which is a very good idea for security and trolling reasons, but an annoying extra step when all you want to do is send a picture from your phone to the laptop in the other room. The recently seamless sharing only works for devices that have Nearby Share enabled, are physically close to you, and are signed in to your Google Account. Everyone else who is not on your account must still accept each share from your device.
Proximity is an important feature for Google, especially as the Android ecosystem continues to expand across devices. If Google needs to be inside your phone, laptop, TV, speakers and smartwatch, it should make it easy for users to move things between all these devices. Apple has continuously shown what is possible here, with AirDrop, but also with features like Universal Control. However, it can be hard to figure out: For every magical second display experience Apple offers, it also provided the feature that causes your AirPods to switch from your phone to your laptop at the worst possible times.
But both companies know that a successful ecosystem does not just require doing things, but getting them to work together, and both seem to be pushing hard towards that goal. (In a perfect world, these would also be cross-platform features, but do not hold your breath.)
There are no words yet on when the Nearby Share update will be released, but with Google I / O scheduled to launch on May 11, it’s probably not far off.