The direct sharing feature will work on any device running Android 6 and above. The feature is already available on Pixel and Samsung’s flagship smartphones. Google assures that other devices will receive an update over the next few weeks.
Nearby Share works much like Apple’s AirDrop for the iPhone. When sharing any particular file, you have to select Nearby Share button on the share menu and then wait for a nearby phone to appear. Whatever you are sharing is sent directly over the transfer method of your choice.
AirDrop allows you to set your preferred visibility for Nearby Share to different levels of contacts. Google says that this feature allows sending and receiving files anonymously, without exposing them to third party. You can choose to share files via following options – Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, peer-to-peer WiFi, or WebRTC.
The idea is replace all other third party peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing apps with a native feature. Google wants to deliver Apple’s AirDrop like experience. Despite AirDrop being available for over nine years, none of sharing options on Android have come close to the simplicity of AirDrop.
Android OS will get the Nearby Share icon right in the status bar. You can easily enable and disable Nearby Sharing. On security front, Nearby Share lets you choose visibility options as well. Users are given three choices – visible to all, some, and hidden. Choosing ‘all’ makes the device visible to all your contacts and users in your vicinity.
Google is adding support for this feature on Chromebooks as well. However, there is no confirmation if the feature will support file sharing with Mac or Windows PCs.