Sharing nearby on Chromebooks just got pretty fantastic

It wasn’t that long ago that we talked about HP’s new Quick Drop app and how smoothly it can be used when the app is installed on both your phone and your Chromebook. I vividly remember thinking to myself while we were making a video about the feature that I really wanted Nearby Share to work so smoothly. After all, Nearby Share is on your Android phone by default and also integrated with Chrome OS. Not having to install a separate app to quickly move files from one device to another should just be the way to go, right?

While this hasn’t really been the case for some time, I have discovered over the past few weeks that Sharing nearby on Chrome OS and Android is actually pretty awesome these days. Maybe I could attribute my low expectations to the months and months of testing that we’ve been actively involved in since July 2020. Over 18 months have passed since nearby sharing on Chromebooks became something we were testing, and it was pretty tough for quite a while.

Even once it technically arrived I would have intermittent issues with it moving larger files and sometimes even I couldn’t even get my devices to see each other and connect. The inconsistencies in all areas were enough to make me forget about service when I needed it most. But, as fate willed it, I had to quickly move a few files around 2 weeks ago and the easiest path was Nearby Share. And you know what? It was simple, painless and totally effective.

So I started to lean on it a bit more. And then others. And now whenever I need to move a video, photo, or other media from my phone to my Chromebook or vice versa, I go to Share Nearby as the default option without giving it much thought. And overall it has been very, very fantastic.

Whether you just use the version of Nearby Share which quickly connects you to nearby contacts or the short-term, open-to-all setup that connects you to everyone nearby, the service itself was a blast to use. for some time. I’m sure some bugs have been worked out on both sides of the Android / Chrome OS coin, but I’m incredibly happy that this very useful feature is now so seamless for Android and Chromebook users.

A quick reminder on how to use nearby sharing

In case you’ve never tried it, the process of using Nearby Share is as easy as it should be. First, you need to turn on nearby sharing on both devices that you will be using. For Chromebooks, just click in the quick settings bar and select Sharing nearby. A pop-up window will show that the visible to all setting. If you just want to access your general nearby sharing settings, go to Settings> Connected devices> Device visibility and select whether you want to be visible to all contacts, selected contacts selected manually or by person.

You’ll need to do the same on your Android device, and for the most part, at this point, you can quickly access them by long-pressing the Nearby Share icon in your quick settings in the notifications panel. Or, if you prefer to browse there, you can go to Settings> Connected devices> Connection preferences> Nearby sharing on a Pixel phone or you can just search your settings on other phones and quickly find your nearby sharing settings. Set it to whatever level of visibility you want and just like that, you’re ready to share.

From your phone or Chromebook, find the file you want to send, find the share button, and select Share nearby in the share sheet. You’ll see your other device almost immediately as long as your sharing settings from the previous step allow it, and after clicking on the sharing notification, your file will arrive on the other device quickly. It works even when you are not on the same network, although I have found the Visible to all is preferable for this type of sharing.

All of this doesn’t mean that Nearby Share will be 100% perfect all the time. These types of file movements are complex and network dependent, so never expect perfect. However, where we are today with this feature is a long way from where it started and without a doubt Nearby Share is a useful tool that is not just new anymore. It’s a legitimate and useful tool that you should definitely try if you haven’t done so in a while.

About Jon Moses

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