Google’s ‘Self Share’ option for nearby sharing spotted could soon enable seamless AirDrop-like transfers


Google is reportedly working on an update to its Nearby Sharing feature that could allow users to quickly share files with themselves, across devices. The feature, which was first introduced in 2020, uses Google Play Services to enable fast device-to-device file transfers. The new “Self Share” feature could allow users to share files between two of their devices seamlessly, similar to Apple’s AirDrop feature offered on its devices running iOS and macOS. Google has yet to officially announce details regarding the feature or when it will be available.

The latest version of Google Play Services contains details of a feature called Self Share, which allows users to transfer files between two devices without having to confirm the transfer on the receiving device, as noted by Mishaal Rahman from Esper. In a screenshot shared from an Android 12 smartphone, the nearby sharing quick settings menu appears to include a Your devices option (instead of the current Hidden option), next to the options for Everyone and contacts. Although the new option has not been rolled out, it is present in the latest version of Google Play Services, according to Rahman.

The Self Share feature, which allows a user to send a file to each other without having to confirm that they want to receive the file, will require a user to be signed into the same Google account on both devices, according to the screenshot that says: “You won’t need to approve sharing from your devices”. Currently, Android users who want to share a file from their smartphone to their tablet (and vice versa) via Nearby Share will cannot do this seamlessly like Apple’s AirDrop feature for iOS and macOS devices.

First spotted in January on the Chromium Gerrit, where changes and additions to Chrome and Chrome OS source code are listed, the auto-share feature has yet to be introduced on ChromeOS, the operating system from Google for Chromebooks, currently allows users to transfer files to and from Android devices using Nearby Sharing, but users still need to approve transfers.

Meanwhile, another screenshot shared by Rahman suggests the Hidden Nearby Share option can be removed when the Your devices option is added, and users will need to use a new Device visibility toggle in settings instead. Google has yet to officially release the Self Share feature, or reveal any information about how it works. However, as the feature is already on the latest version of Google Play Services, Google may announce the feature at its upcoming Google I/O conference which will be held virtually in May.

While Personal Sharing is part of Google Play Services and should require an Android or ChromeOS device to work, Google revealed at CES 2022 that it was working with companies like Acer, HP and Intel to bring Fast Pair and Near functionality. Share to select Windows PCs later this year, which means users may also be able to share files seamlessly between their Windows PC or laptop and phone in the future.




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