Nearby Share, which debuted on Android in mid-2020 and then on ChromeOS a few months later, has become an indispensable feature of the Google ecosystem. Those of us who use Android and ChromeOS have been known to use this feature almost daily to transfer files and photos back and forth between our devices in an easy, quick, and reliable way.
In January, Chrome Story discovered that additional functionality was being planned for Nearby Share with a new feature called “Self Share.” As the name implies, “Self Share” refers to sharing files between your own devices without the need to approve the transaction. This function works by using your Google account to determine which devices nearby belong to the same user instead of only using proximity and prompting the receiver to accept the file transfer. On ChromeOS, the plan to add this was discovered on a commit in the Chromium Gerrit and the subsequent feature flag, which at the time only appeared in ChromeOS Canary:
Now it’s looking like this feature is closer than ever to prime time. Tech Writer Mishaal Rahman discovered and shared via Twitter that the “Self Share” feature is now present in the latest version of Google Play Services, but it’s not accessible to the public yet. Building on the screenshots shared by Mishaal, XDA-Developers explained that on the Android side, the feature would be controlled via the “Device visibility” settings as seen below:
Under “Device visibility” in Nearby Sharing settings, users will see a new option called “Your devices.” When selected, users will be able to seamlessly share files between their devices (signed into the same Google accounts). Files will be downloaded automatically on the other device — you won’t have to approve the transfer.
On ChromeOS, the flag is now showing up in version Beta 101, but turning it on doesn’t actually do anything yet. However, now that the other piece of the puzzle shows that progress is being made, we may not have to wait much longer. This is highly encouraging as 95% of my file transfers are between my own devices. Making this process seamless between devices that share the same Google account is a step in the right direction when it comes to productivity and simplifying users’ workflow.