New updates are being added to the bottom of the story…

Original story (from May 02, 2021) follows:

The rivalry between Google and Apple never seems to end, especially when it comes to the duo’s mobile operating systems — Android and iOS.

Both platforms have staunch followers who won’t budge no matter what. In fact, things often seem to get heated whenever one party ‘borrows’ a feature from its counterpart.

For instance, several Android-centric publications (1, 2, 3) had a field day when iOS 14 gained support for home screen widgets, app drawer, and a few other features that Android users have had for quite some time.

Similarly, the guys in the Apple camp always have their day. The recent arrival of Nearby Share is one such example, where digs were aimed at Google for finally catching up to a near-decade-old Apple idea.

Nearby-Share
(Source)

AirDrop, for those in the dark, came about 10 years ago and is undoubtedly one of the best things to happen to the Apple ecosystem.

Thanks to AirDrop, Apple users can easily share files between their iPhone, iPad and Mac devices as well as with friends and family who are in the Apple ecosystem.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are used to facilitate the file sharing, which is exactly the same case with Android Nearby Share. This explains why it has been dubbed Android’s answer to AirDrop by some pundits.

Sure, there’s no way Nearby Share can compete with a 10-year-old rival without losing on some fronts. But truth be told, the fact that Android users have anything close to AirDrop is commendable.

Google-Pixel-Nearby-Share

The arrival of Nearby Share means the iPhone has lost one of its USPs over Android, but for some reason most people in my small circle have no idea what Nearby Share is.

I’ve encountered cases where I needed someone to share a file with me (or vice versa) and more often than not, the likes of Xender and SHAREit are what come up as an option besides the good old Bluetooth.

And while I have nothing against these options, the fact that Nearby Share offers users a superior option that doesn’t need downloading and installing a third-party app makes it a no-brainer.

The only problem I have is suddenly becoming a Google ambassador, going around telling my friends about how good the Nearby Share feature is yet it has been here for nearly a year.

Apple’s AirDrop has become so synonymous with file sharing to a point that users in the ecosystem have converted it to some sort of verb. You probably heard someone ask a friend to ‘AirDrop’ them photos from a past moment.

I don’t know if the lack of wide usage has anything to do with the choice of name, but what’s clear to me is that Google isn’t doing enough to make Nearby Share known to Android and Chrome OS users.

Chrome-OS-supports-Nearby-Share
Chrome OS supports Nearby Share

In fact, Google doesn’t have anything close to a tutorial to show interested users around the feature. This makes finding and using Nearby Share even more of a hassle.

And coming from a company that is well versed with the ad business, it’s close to impossible to wrap my head around why Google doesn’t say much about having an AirDrop equivalent.

No denying that Android fragmentation could be a major stumbling block for the wider adoption of Nearby Share. But Google will be impressed by some of the recent developments but definitely not all of them.

OnePlus, for instance, recently switched from File Dash to Nearby Share as it aims to step up the seamless transfer of files among Android devices. Google will be hoping that other OEMs follow suit.

Unfortunately, that might not be the case following Samsung’s recent expanded support for its own version of Nearby Share and AirDrop dubbed Quick Share on Windows devices.

Quick Share is available on Galaxy smartphones, Galaxy tablets, and Galaxy Books (from May 2021), on Android 10 and One UI2.1 and above.
Source

Essentially, Samsung is creating its own ‘walled’ garden akin to Apple, where users can easily share files between Galaxy devices without the need of an internet connection.

Quick Share on the Galaxy Book laptops allows you to share content between your Galaxy devices or with classmates and coworkers with just a few clicks. Simply drag and drop multiple files and content between your Galaxy Book device and your Galaxy smartphone with near instant transfer.
Source

Perhaps in response, the search giant is also making improvements to the function as it looks to lure more vendors to start using Nearby Share, among them support for group transfer.

But even as it adds new features and functions, the threat coming from the biggest smartphone vendor in the world means Google will have to invest in marketing so that more people become aware of Nearby Share.

Otherwise, the same fate that befell plenty of other great Google initiatives may be knocking on the door. Hopefully, Nearby Share won’t follow the likes of Play Music, Wave and Hire into oblivion.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Google is doing enough to market Nearby Share? Let us know in your comments and vote (Twitter poll) below. Expect poll results after a week.

Update 1 (May 09, 2021)

02:20 pm (IST): And our readers have spoken.

Out of those who voted, 40.9% maintain they’re aware of (and actually use) Google’s Android Nearby Share feature, 50% haven’t really heard of it, while 9.1% say they use others like Xender/SHAREit/etc.

Update 2 (July 21, 2023)

04:56 pm (IST): Google has announced that the Nearby Share feature for Windows is now officially available. More on that here.

PiunikaWeb started as purely an investigative tech journalism website with main focus on ‘breaking’ or ‘exclusive’ news. In no time, our stories got picked up by the likes of Forbes, Foxnews, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Verge, Macrumors, and many others. Want to know more about us? Head here.

Hillary Keverenge
2136 Posts

Tech has been my playground for over a decade. While the Android journey began early, it truly took flight with the revolutionary Lollipop update. Since then, it's been a parade of Android devices (with a sprinkle of iOS), culminating in a mostly happy marriage with Google's smart home ecosystem. Expect insightful articles and explorations of the ever-evolving world of Android and Google products coupled with occasional rants on the Nest smart home ecosystem.

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