Google could finally deliver a viable version of AirDrop for Android phones.
The company is testing a new Android feature called "Fast Share" that would allow phone owners to wirelessly send photos, text and other files to nearby devices via Bluetooth. The unpublished feature was currently discovered by two independent publications, 9to5Google and XDA Developers.
According to screenshots published by publications, Fast Share allows you to share photos, text and URLs with devices that are close, even if you do not have an Internet connection. Interestingly, the list of screen capture devices includes an iPhone, as well as a Chromebook and Pixel 3 phone, which suggests that the intention is that Fast Share allows the sharing of various platforms.
Although there are now several publications that have detected the "Quick Action" page, it seems that it is not yet used and it is unclear what Google plans for this feature. We have gotten more information about Fast Share and we will update if we listen again.
Sharing seamless files between devices may seem a relatively minor feature, but one that you do not appreciate completely until you have it. As an iPhone owner who uses AirDrop almost every day, it's one of the few features that I miss when I use an Android phone.
Yes, there have been other options in the past. Android Beam, which used NFC, allowed you to share files without a data connection, but you needed to physically tap two phones together, so that it only worked with a limited number of devices.
More recently, Google has enabled the use of AirDrop with the Files application. But you must download a separate application to use it, so it's not as intuitive as a system-level feature such as AirDrop.
Fast Share, on the other hand, is integrated with the Android share sheet, just like AirDrop, which makes it much more similar to the iPhone feature.