Google’s hotly-anticipated, proximity-based Nearby Share feature appears to be gone from devices it had previously appeared on, reports indicate. Or at least that appears to be the case for some users. Previously, denoted with a twisted-line icon in Android’s sharing menu, the feature has disappeared entirely. There’s still a Quick Settings tile for users, in the same place it had been. But that’s been disabled, disallowing users from interacting with it.
Why is Nearby Share gone?
Now, the reason for Google’s removal of Nearby Share features has not been revealed. And there could be any number of underlying causes for Google to remove it.
As an experimental feature, it seems likely that the search giant found bugs in the code. If bugs or vulnerabilities have been found, Google may have decided to simply remove it. At least until it’s been patched. Conversely, the feature may have been removed so that it could be launched in tandem with Android 11. But that remains very much in the air. Particularly since Nearby Share was set to arrive for more than just Android. It was also slated for Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS.
Regardless of the reasons for its removal. Google appears to have taken back its latest sharing option via an update to its Play Services. Users reportedly note that the feature disappeared immediately following an update to the latest version of that app.
What did this feature do?
Nearby Share, as its branding implies, was a proximity-based sharing solution that didn’t rely on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. At least not in the traditional sense. First spotted in beta but not explicitly for Android 11 several months back, it was expected to be similar to but not exactly like Apple’s AirDrop feature. By some accounts, it was set to be a whole lot better.
In effect, the device would create its own network for sharing. That meant that just about any Android device — or those running Chrome on the above-mentioned platforms — would be able to sync or share files from device to device. As long as they were logged in, users could do so without needing to also be logged in to any data services at all. On mobile devices, it was also easy to use because it worked with apps that utilize Android’s share sheet.