The wait for an Android Beam successor may finally be coming to a close. One of Google’s developer-oriented videos for Android 11, published to YouTube today, clearly shows a “nearby” option in the share sheet. Though we’re not familiar with the new icon, that name and its location in the sharing menu seem clearly related to the Nearby Sharing feature we’ve been anticipating for the last year.
Details surrounding the new feature have been spotted circulating for over a year when it was called “Fast Share” in development. Since then, Google has switched to the name “Nearby Sharing.” Earlier this year, XDA Developers got the feature-in-development working to test it, and they discovered the new AirDrop-like filesharing system was also much faster than the solution it replaced.
The video doesn’t actually show how the feature would work — the appearance of the new “Nearby” button is incidental to the subject the video discusses — but it’s definitely new, and it probably reveals part of how the feature will work. Rather than just appearing as a target together with other apps further down in the share sheet, as it did in the earlier tests, the new feature gets top billing (at least, in some circumstances) right next to the option to copy content to your clipboard.
This may just be a mockup, and things could ultimately vary when Nearby Sharing does finally manifest, but details like these indicate where and how it will probably appear. I’d further wager that this points to the feature landing soon, perhaps with Android 11’s release later this summer, even if it’s built into Google Play Services and may ultimately end up working with older versions of Android as well.