Google’s Near Share gets a major upgrade

When Google launched Near Share in 2020, Android users everywhere were happy. They finally had a tool that rivaled Apple’s AirDrop, an easy way to move files between devices without attaching them to an email or uploading them to Google Drive and simply downloading them back onto a new device.

Now, ahead of Google I/O, a few users have noticed an upgrade lurking in Google Play Services that makes Sharing Closer even easier. The new “self-share” mode, if spotted by Esper’s Mishaal Rahman (through android police, seems to let you transfer files between your own devices with one tap. The feature has been rumored for months, but it seems to be getting much closer now.

So far, Google has forced the recipient of a share to accept it, which is a very good idea for security and troll reasons, but an annoying extra step when all you want to do is send a photo from your phone to the laptop in the other room. . The new seamless sharing only works for devices that have close sharing enabled, that are physically close to you, and are signed in to your Google account. Anyone who is not a member of your account must still accept any share from your device.

Close sharing is an important feature for Google, especially as the Android ecosystem continues to expand across devices. If Google is in your phone, your laptop, your TV, your speakers, and your smartwatch, it should make it easy for users to move things between all those devices. Apple has continuously shown what is possible here, with AirDrop but also with features like Universal Control. It can be hard to get it right, though: For every magical second-screen experience Apple offers, it’s also delivered the feature that allows your AirPods to switch from your phone to your laptop at the worst possible times.

But both companies know that a successful ecosystem should not only make things, but also make them work together, and both seem to be pushing hard toward that goal. (In a perfect world, these would also be cross-platform features, but don’t hold your breath.)

It’s not yet known when the Near Share update will be released, but since Google I/O kicks off on May 11, it probably isn’t far away.

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