Google launches AirDrop rival: coming to Mac, Windows 10, and Linux

Google is set to bring its new Nearby Sharing feature to Chrome so you can use it on all your devices. Here's how it works

Google is reportedly about to unveil a feature that can compete with Apple's AirDrop file sharing system. The feature is called Nearby Share (formerly Fast Share, formerly Android Beam) and allows fast file sharing between two devices. What's new is that it will not only be possible to share documents with other Android devices, but also with Windows, Linux, macOS, and Chrome OS devices. All this will be possible because the feature will be included in Chrome's code and, consequently, you'll be able to use it on all operating systems for which there is a version of Chrome. When will it arrive? Apparently very soon according to the latest leaks coming from India.

It's already in Chrome Canary

Indian blogger Dinsan Francis of ChromeStory has discovered that the Nearby Share feature is already available in the settings of Chromebooks with the Canary version of Chrome, the one intended for beta testers that includes the latest tools that are not yet ready to be released in a definitive way. But they are already quite developed and, in fact, Google is starting to let its tester users try them out. A second hypothesis, which actually doesn't conflict with the first one, is that Google wants to introduce this new feature in Android 11.

Nearby Share: how it works

Nearby Share will be practically identical to Apple AirDrop, with the difference that it will be practically universal and not strictly tied to the Android operating system. Most likely the connection used to share files will be mainly Bluetooth (with NFC), but it might be possible to use Neaby Sharing also via Wi-Fi or mobile data connection.

The competition

If Google will really release the new Nearby Sharing feature, and will do so with this definitive name, then users will have to be very careful with names: on Windows 10, in fact, there is a virtually identical feature with an identical name, namely Nearby Sharing. Microsoft's competitor to AirDrop also works in a similar way, taking advantage of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections, and you can activate it directly from the notifications area in the bottom right of the screen. Finally, sharing with nearby devices is already a (proprietary) feature of many smartphones from Oppo, Realme, OnePlus, Vivo, Xiaomi.