Now, Android fans can ‘AirDrop’ weird photos to strangers, as Google just started rolling out Nearby Share, which lets you instantly share files, links, pictures, and more with the
unsuspecting people nearby.
Any Android device running Android 6.0 or above will be getting the update, starting with Pixel and Samsung devices, and the rest will get it “over the next few weeks.”
It’s pretty much Apple’s AirDrop in everything but name, enabling you to send content instantly to your friends without having to dig through your contacts list. All you need to do is tap the Nearby Share button on the share menu, and wait for nearby devices to appear as if by magic.
If you’re worried about pranking (and let’s face it, you should be), you can set visibility on Nearby Share to either all, some, or stay hidden. Google even says that people sending files can do it anonymously, which is all the more reason to set it to stay hidden on your own device in my opinion. Chromebooks will also get the option at some point, but you won’t be able to share with iOS, Mac, or Windows machines for the foreseeable future.
One really cool thing though? Nearby Share uses whichever method your phones decide will be faster to transfer its data. That could be Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC, or even peer-to-peer WiFi. That should mean it’ll work even if you don’t have a data connection, which is pretty nifty. I look forward to not getting data bills for having to use cloud services to transfer files.