Just a few weeks after reports indicated Google was developing its Nearby Sharing feature for Chrome, Chrome Story now has it working.
Nearby Sharing, for the unfamiliar, is a new wireless function for sharing content between devices. It works similarly to Apple’s popular AirDrop service. Initially, it looked like Google was developing Nearby Sharing specifically for Android. However, it’s now clear the search giant’s ambitions go much further. By bundling Nearby Sharing in Chrome, it also means the feature will work across Windows, macOS, Linux and Chrome OS — assuming, of course, you have Chrome installed.
Chrome Story reports it was able to get Nearby Sharing on a Chromebook by enabling a flag in the current Canary channel build. Chrome and Chrome OS both offer several ‘channels’ at different development stages. Canary builds are updated frequently and are often unstable.
With a Canary build running on a Google Pixel Slate, Chrome Story reports it enabled the ‘Nearby Share’ and ‘Share Sheet’ flags. Chrome flags are semi-hidden settings used to test new features before rolling them out to users. Flags can be found by typing ‘chrome://flags’ in the address bar and searching for the ones you need.
Once the flags were enabled, Chrome Story had to toggle on the ‘Nearby Share’ setting under ‘Connected Devices’ in the Chrome OS Settings app.
With that, Nearby Sharing was up and running on the Chromebook. Unfortunately, Chrome Story didn’t have another device to send a file to, so was unable to test Nearby Sharing itself.
Further, Android Police reports it was unable to replicate the steps in its own tests, suggesting that the Nearby Share flag is still in a limited rollout.
Regardless, it’s clear that Google is working to bring the feature to Chrome and it seems to be close to being ready. Coupled with Nearby Sharing going live for some users on Android, it seems that we’re close to the official launch of Nearby Sharing.