The upcoming “nearby sharing” feature for Chrome OS has made its way to the Stable channel, albeit, behind a flag. While the feature appears to be working fairly well, it looks like Chromium developers are looking to give users, even more, sharing options on Chrome OS. The new flag turned up in the latest update to the Canary channel and though I’m not positive how this will flesh out, I think Chrome OS may soon offer a share sheet for the browser and browser-based applications.
Chrome OS Sharing Hub
Enables the Sharing Hub (share sheet) on ChromeOS via the Omnibox.
There are little to no details on exactly what this new Chrome OS Sharing Hub will look like but I have a hunch that it will mimic the current share sheet used by the Nearby Sharing features. When enabled, the “share sheet” allows files to be sent using Nearby Sharing. This share sheet brings up a list of applications similar to what your phone does when you click the share button in Chrome or an Android application. In Chrome OS, however, some PWAs like Twitter and Squoosh are presented as options you can share to. Based on one particular commit, this feature is being built exclusively for Chrome OS.
My guess is that this new Sharing Hub will give users a similar option for the specific website you are viewing. Instead of copying the URL, you may be able to click the share button and bring up the share sheet. This may seem like an insignificant change and that’s exactly what I thought until I opened my Twitter PWA. I use the Twitter progressive web app exclusively and rarely if ever, go to twitter.com in Chrome. If you use Twitter on the web or the PWA you may have noticed that there isn’t a “share” option like there is on mobile. Instead, you get options to send via direct message or copy the link to the tweet. With the share sheet enabled on Chrome OS, users are presented with the share sheet and any available applications.
I am taking an educated guess here but I think that the new Sharing Hub will extend this sharing functionality to Chrome and other PWAs that may be installed on your Chromebook. That’s just my gut feeling and I may be totally incorrect but with Google furthering the integration between Chrome OS and mobile devices, this would be a great option to make PWAs feel more familiar and easier to navigate. I’m keeping an eye on this feature flag and we’ll update you as soon as we know more.