GOOGLE IS SAID to be preparing a rival to Apple's AirDrop feature, offering a faster way to swap files between devices.
Fast Share will be a replacement for the soon-to-be-deprecated Android Beam which was popular for its… no, actually, wait, it wasn't popular at all.
Sharing can be triggered from the Share menu in any context, or directly from the Google Files (File Go) app. You'll be able to share to Android, Chrome OS, Wear OS and even (whisper it) to an iOS device that's set up for it.
Google Files already has an Airdrop-style sharing option but it requires both parties to have the app installed. This replacement service won't.
It works like this - hit ‘share', choose ‘fast share' and you'll be given a list of target devices within range. When you select one, that device is sent your phone details, including a connection ID for added security. When the other party accepts, the transfer begins. You can watch the file progress bar in a full screen, whilst the recipient can view it from a notification.
If you trust someone and don't mind getting files from them, you can give them "Preferred Visibility" which saves you faffing about with authorising it each time they want to send you something, so providing you can be confident there aren't going to be Dinkle Pics, this seems like a good bet for friends.
The system works, as so many do these days, with a mixture of Bluetooth (for discovering devices) and WiFi Direct (for device-to-device traffic). Essentially, it puts a big ol' interface over WiFi Direct to make it seem less like the eternal faff it is.
There's no information on when this will launch and which versions of Android will get it, but it's part of Google Play Services, meaning it can be switched on server-side. In other words, it'll probably come with Android Q, but equally, it could come any other time too, and on any version of Android that's capable.
All we really know at this stage is that Android Beam won't exist in Android Q, so it's likely to be sooner rather than later. μ
And that'll cost you a tenner a month
Watch this space
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