Sharing links, files, and photos on Android phones is about to get a lot easier. Google is launching its Nearby Share tool, which lets you share content between local devices without copy-pasting links or exchanging contact info. Nearby Share is available on select Pixel and Samsung phones today and will arrive on other devices (including Chromebooks) in the coming weeks.
Nearby Share is Android’s answer to Apple’s AirDrop tool. You can access it from your phone’s pull-down Quick Settings menu, or from the Share overflow in your photo viewer or browser. Nearby Share shows you a list of all nearby devices that you can send content to, even if you’re offline. You have the option to accept or decline files sent to you through Nearby Share.
Google says that Nearby Share has “privacy at its core,” because it allows people to send and receive files without exchanging contact info. That’s nice, but there are some situations where you don’t want photos from strangers. To adjust your device visibility and hide your phone from strangers (or a handful of unsavory contacts), just pull down the Quick Settings menu, press and hold Nearby Share, and pick the privacy settings that are right for you.
You don’t have to update your device or download any apps to use Nearby Share. As of now, the tool only works with select Pixel and Samsung devices, but it’ll eventually land on all devices running Android 6.0+ or Chrome OS. And in case you’re wondering, Nearby Share doesn’t work with iOS.