Google appears to be finally readying an easy way to share files across a variety of devices, including Android phones and Chromebooks, according to a new report by 9to5Google.
The feature — dubbed Fast Share — is set to replace the NFC-based Android Beam sharing method Google introduced with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in 2011. Google has confirmed its plans to deprecate the API in the final version of Android Q scheduled for release later this year.
The alternative, instead, will leverage the Nearby service in Google Play Services to allow you share to devices around you without an internet connection. Fast Share will use Bluetooth to discover and establish contact, and then subsequently transfer files over a direct Wi-Fi connection.
You’ll find the setting to launch the sharing process — if you have the option — in Settings > Google > Fast Share.
From the report, it appears Google intends for Fast Share to function a lot like AirDrop in iOS and macOS. So, if you want to share a photo or a file, all you have to do is select the files you want and pick “Fast Share” from the share sheet menu. From there, you can choose the target device. Google’s share targets include Chromebooks, other Android devices, smartwatches, and even iPhones.
Google’s Files app for Android already does something similar, but it also requires that the app be downloaded on the recipient device to take advantage of the feature. That limitation also makes it a lot less useful than a system-wide feature that works across multiple platforms.
At this point, it’s a little unclear how Google plans to achieve cross-platform compatibility, or if it will require specific Android versions in order to function. But hopefully, Fast Share will be the universal file sharing solution us Android fans have all been waiting for.
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