Tech giant Google seems to be working on a new and simple tool for sharing files between devices called ‘Fast Share.” The tool is a part of Nearby service in Google Play Services, and it looks to be not only an Android Beam replacement but also an Apple AirDrop competitor.
The folks at 9to5Google were able to enable the Fast Share feature of Google. Fast Share on Android can be used to share images and other files on your phone — as well as URLs and snippets of text — “to nearby devices without internet.”
The report adds that the tool is available from the system share sheet with the feature currently using Google’s blue diamond-shaped Nearby icon. Alternately, the sharing process can be launched by heading to system Settings > Google > Fast Share.
Rather than using NFC, the service uses Bluetooth to initiate a handshake and then subsequently transfers files over a direct Wi-Fi connection. This will allow larger files to be transferred much more quickly compared to Android Beam.
The setup process is also quite simple. You just enter a “Device name” and tap “Turn on.” It requires Bluetooth and Location to be enabled, with physical proximity also factors in. Once the recipient is selected from a grid of “nearby devices,” a fullscreen UI will note what is being shared and display a circular progress indicator.
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Interestingly, the listing on devices by Google includes Chromebooks, other Android devices, smartwatches, and even iPhones. However, it remains to be seen which devices are supported when the feature goes live.