We have seen some of the biggest names in the world link together to make their own direct file sharing protocol but at the same time Google has continued to work on their own. We reported on Google’s in the middle of last year and now they have renamed, hopefully ahead of a release.
Android Beam is gone and now the new Fast Sharing protocol has been renamed to Nearby Sharing as discovered by XDA Developers. According to an APK teardown of the new Google Play Services APK file they found evidence of the renaming. Along with that they also found that the devices need to be within a foot of each other to be able to share which seems very restrictive.
Nearby Sharing works by using Bluetooth to “find” nearby devices and initiate a “handshake” between the devices. The files are then transferred from one device to the other over a direct Wi-Fi connection. It is strange that the tip in the settings says that the devices must be within a foot of each other considering that both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi work over much further distances.
It is unknown when Google will release the new file sharing technology but we suspect they would want to release it in one of the early Android 11 betas releasing in the next few months — I’d go as far as saying they’d announce it at Google I/O and release it in the beta normally released on the first day of I/O.
It is about time Google made something like this and it will be interesting to see how different it is to OPPO et al.’s version — it is possible they may work together but don’t hold your breath on that one. Hopefully the Google version will work across all Android devices, no matter the manufacturer.