Google’s first attempt at making it possible for Android users to share files with each other was called Android Beam.
While it was functional, it left a lot to be desired, and never really caught on. That fact prompted the company to announce that it would be calling a halt to further Beam development in preference for a new tool.
It is called ‘Fast Share’, which the company sees as a direct competitor to iOS’s “AirDrop.”
Fast Share will allow users to share text, images, URLs and other files with nearby devices, even without an internet connection. Rather than relying on NFC to connect and transfer files between devices, the new technology uses Bluetooth connectivity.
This, of course requires that both the sending and target devices have Bluetooth and Location Services activated. Once those two conditions are true, users will be required to enter a Device Name and turn Fast Share on. At that point, you’ll get a full screen interface that will give you control over exactly what you’re sharing. That along with a progress bar and a list of devices close enough to share with.
Recipients will get a notification that includes the name of the sending device, a connection ID number, and a prompt allowing the recipient to accept or decline the file transfer. Fast Share also includes a feature called “Preferred Visibility” which allows you to trust frequent connection pairings.
Google hasn’t yet made a firm announcement about when the service will be available for Android devices. Given the buzz, you probably won’t have to wait long.
All of this sounds fantastic, but of course, it also opens the door for a great number of new hacks and abuses. So be mindful of that in the weeks and months ahead.