Google starts testing AirDrop clone for Android Q

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AirDrop
‘Fast Share’ will roll out later this year.
Photo: Apple

Google is working to deliver an AirDrop clone that will allow Android users to quickly share files with nearby devices.

Its new “Fast Share” feature, which will also make its way to Chrome OS, can be used to send images, videos, links, and other files without an internet connection. It can already be enabled on some Android Q devices.

Google already has a feature similar to AirDrop called Android Beam. It’s been around since 2011, and it allows users to share content over NFC by tapping two devices together. But Android Beam won’t be included in Android Q.

It was confirmed earlier this year that the feature will be dropped from Google’s next-generation mobile operating system. Its replacement is a better AirDrop clone that doesn’t require devices to come into contact.

Fast Share works just like AirDrop … but on Android

“Fast Share on Android can be used to share images and other files on your phone — as well as URLs and snippets of text — ‘to nearby devices without internet,’” reports 9to5Google, which has tested the feature.

Fast Share is included in the share sheet, which makes it easy to send content from all your favorite apps. You can also access it from within the Settings app. You must have Bluetooth and location access enabled.

Once the feature is activated, nearby devices show up so that you can send content to them in just a few taps — just like with AirDrop. You’ll see other Android smartphones and tablets, as well as Chrome OS devices.

Interestingly, nearby iPhones show up, too. But it’s not completely clear whether you can share content to them, or how that might work.

Fast Share is coming in Android Q

Fast Share was first introduced in the fourth Android Q beta, which rolled out on June 11. Android Q itself is scheduled to make its official debut this fall, and will be available first on Google’s own devices.

Other Android Q features inspired by iOS include a system-wide dark mode, navigation gestures for devices without buttons, and the ability to grant access to your location data only when an app is active and on screen.