Google is preparing to upgrade Nearby Share with group transfers

Google is preparing to upgrade Nearby Share with group transfers

When Google launched Nearby Share, the company finally offered Android users a feature that rivaled Apple’s AirDrop. Just a few months later, and Nearby Share is shaping up to be even better.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

Last week, we spotted two new features coming to Nearby Share, including the ability to share files with multiple people at once.

The first new feature coming to Nearby Share is the ability to share with “everyone” nearby rather than just “all contacts.” AirDrop does this by default, but Google initially decided not to open it up to everyone around you because it could lead to issues (e.g. unwanted AirDrop transfers). Fortunately, Google has a workaround: a new “temporary mode” that will revert “everyone” to “all contacts” after 5 minutes.

Our suggestion is to keep Nearby Share (and AirDrop) enabled for only people you trust, not all devices in your immediate vicinity. But it’s nice to see Google approaching the possibility of unwanted sharing by introducing a new temporary mode. You’ll be able to quickly share files with a new business acquaintance before your device’s Nearby Share mode reverts back to “all contacts.”

The next feature we discovered is support for group sharing. As we posted on Twitter last week, the feature appears to connect to a maximum of four other devices, but can only transfer to one device at a time. We attempted to connect to two devices at once but it failed immediately, so it looks like Google is still fleshing this one out.

It’s unclear when these new features will be available to everyone who has access to Nearby Share, but it’s nice to know they’re in development. The group sharing aspect still needs time in the oven, so chances are we won’t see the new features launch anytime soon.

Launched last August, Nearby Share makes it simple to share files, images, links, and other content between Android devices. If you haven’t used the feature, it’s much more convenient than sharing a file via text or email, and it’s almost instantaneous. It also works offline, so you don’t necessarily need a Wi-Fi connection for it to work.

Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.

About author

Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.