Google Releases Android Nearby Sharing App for Windows

It's been quite a while since, at CES 2022, Google announced that its Nearby Share feature was coming to Windows PCs. Finally, Google has released a beta version of the Windows app, allowing users to beam files between their Windows box and Android phone instantly. However, there are some hardware and software limitations.

Nearby Share is essentially Google's take on Apple AirDrop. Apple's service is integrated with macOS; Google's is part of Chrome OS. However, the most popular operating systems in the world are Android and Windows—it only makes sense they'd be able to send files back and forth. So, Google has released an app that turns your PC into a Nearby-enabled beacon. All you need to do is install the new app and click through a few options.

Importantly, Nearby Share for Windows only works on 64-bit versions of Windows 10 and 11, and there's currently no support for ARM-based PCs. Additionally, your system needs Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to negotiate a connection with Android phones and tablets. You don't need to be on the same Wi-Fi network with both devices, but that does make the transfers much faster.

Windows nearby app

To send a file from your phone, just open the share menu as if you were going to send it to an installed app. Tap the “Nearby” option at the top, and your phone will search for eligible destinations. The Windows app makes your PC visible to Android phones whether the app is open or running in the background. By default, Nearby only accepts files from your contacts (or yourself), but you can limit that further or open it up to all nearby devices. Going the other way, simply drag files into the Windows app and select your phone. You must ensure the phone is unlocked to make it appear.

Nearby sharing dialog on Android

We have been testing Nearby Share on Windows 11 and several different Android phones from Google, Asus, and Samsung. Since Nearby Share is part of Google Play Services, it would work on all Android devices with Google software certification. Files transfer quickly and without errors, appearing in the download directory on the recipient device. You can change the directory to whatever you want, too.

Microsoft's Phone Link app also has file transfer functionality, but it's harder to set up and only pairs with one phone at a time. Nearby Share lets you and anyone you trust shuffle files around, and it's already working pretty well for a beta app.

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