It seems 2020 is the year Android finally catches up to one of the best features in iOS — AirDrop. We've already seen evidence this week that Samsung is planning a similar feature for its upcoming Galaxy S20 phones, and today (Jan. 24) we've got a preview of Google's AirDrop alternative, called Nearby Sharing, running on a pair of Pixel devices, courtesy of XDA Developers (opens in new tab).
In the video (opens in new tab), we're taken on a quick tour of Nearby Sharing by XDA's Mishaal Rahman. Using a Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 4 with a pre-release version of the software, he's able to move a handful of photos and a video file from one device to the other.
Much like AirDrop, Nearby Sharing users have the ability to set who they want to receive files from — anyone, or only individuals within their contacts. You'll also have the ability to turn the feature on and off via a quick toggle in the notification shade, which is a very handy addition. You can then choose whether you'd like to use data to share, or simply exchange files over Wi-Fi only (the latter of which will be much faster).
A pair of devices will only be able to use Nearby Sharing if they're at most 1 foot apart from each other, which might help you avoid getting random unwanted media sent to you while riding the subway. (No promises, though.)
Photos and videos transferred via Nearby Sharing land in a specially named folder inside an Android's phones DCIM directory, where photos are traditionally stored. Theoretically, Nearby Sharing should be available to all Android devices running the latest version of Google Play Services (Rahman cites another user who was able to get the feature running on a OnePlus 7T, for what it's worth), but we're still in the dark regarding when Google intends to roll it out to everyone.