Nearby Share: Google launches Windows beta to share files between Android and PCs

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 1, 2023
Google, Windows software

Google published the first public beta version of Nearby Share for Windows this week. The company launched Nearby Share for Android in 2020 as a way to share files across devices that are close-by.

The file sharing feature is now available on almost 3 billion Android devices according to Google, and it works across Android phones, tablets and also Chromebooks.

Nearby Share Beta for Windows adds the functionality to Windows devices. Google released the first public beta of the tool, which Windows users may download from the official website. The application is not available in some regions at the time and only 64-bit Windows 10 and newer devices are supported. Another exception is that ARM devices are not supported.

Speaking of requirements, Nearby Share requires Bluetooth.

The installation of the Nearby Share app on Windows devices is straightforward. It requires an Internet connection, as data needs to be downloaded. Once installed, Google displays a prompt to sign-in to a Google account.

Once signed-in, you may configure a few options.

nearby share windows

Receiving defines who can share files with the Nearby Share account. The default is contacts, which refers to any contact of the Google account. Other options include setting the feature to "no one", "everyone", or "your devices". No one may be useful if you only want to send files but never receive, and your devices limits the sharing to that particular Google account.

The app sends usage info and crash reports to Google by default, but this can be disabled by removing the checkmark from "Help improve this app.." on the set up page.

Files can be shared with devices that support Nearby Share, provided that they are in close proximity of each other. Google speaks of 16 feet or 5 meters.

Nearby Share needs to be enabled on both devices, and the Windows PCs can only share with Android devices, but not with Chromebooks currently. Android users find instructions on enabling Nearby Share on this support page.

Nearby Share needs to run on the Windows device, but the app can be in the background. On Windows, users may use drag & drop operations to start sending files. There is also a right-click menu option to send files. Transfers need to be accepted by other users, but not if files are shared between a Google user's own devices.

Files are encrypted when they are shared, according to Google.

If Bluetooth is not available or turned off, the following error is displayed.

nearby share

Closing Words

Nearby Share for Windows is available as a beta currently. It is compatible with 64-bit versions of Windows 10 and newer only, and requires Bluetooth; most desktop PCs may not support Bluetooth, which means that the feature is limited.

Users who want an alternative that is not limited to specific platforms and open source, may check out Snapdrop. It is a web service that uses WebRTC P2P connections to transfer files and messages between devices. Files are encrypted using WebRTC, and sends are available in the same network.

Now You: how do you share files between devices?

Nearby Share: Google launches Windows beta to share files between Android and PCs
Article Name
Nearby Share: Google launches Windows beta to share files between Android and PCs
Google published the first public beta version of Nearby Share for Windows this week to share files between Windows PCs and Android devices.
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  1. Anonymous said on April 3, 2023 at 4:40 am

    Save to a cloud service available to all of your devices would work better. If one device is offline when you save, the file will be there next time you use it.

  2. VioletMoon said on April 2, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    Prefer Sharedrop to Snapdrop; Wormhole is a fave–QR Code; Swiss Transfer for big stuff, but it’s not really Android. Sharik is blazing fast; Send Anywhere, but it’s a hefty program.

    Still don’t get it. Why not use Bluetooth. Oh, somebody doesn’t have Bluetooth; then, the Google Nearby Share is pointless. Why use it?

  3. akg said on April 2, 2023 at 5:54 pm

    warpinator, (open source) works between linux ,android,windows is developed by linux mint team.

  4. ECJ said on April 2, 2023 at 12:30 pm

    “…how do you share files between devices?”

    Old school here, USB-C cable.

    1. Someone said on April 2, 2023 at 1:17 pm


  5. Roger W. said on April 1, 2023 at 11:53 pm

    This app is just as bad, if not worse, as the Microsoft Phone Link app. Bluetooth only, no WiFi. What is this 2010? I’m sticking to WinSCP thank you.

    1. Anonymous said on April 2, 2023 at 6:10 am

      I appreciate WinSCP may do all you want but does it transfer between Windows and Android devices? I suspect the answer is ‘no’. A viable alternative would perform the function specifically mentioned in the subject.

  6. Anonymous said on April 1, 2023 at 11:10 pm

    Another potential point of exploitation?

  7. Dorryn said on April 1, 2023 at 6:30 pm

    Not available in my region yet. Shame.

    1. LauRoman said on April 3, 2023 at 8:55 pm

      the beta is currently not available in EU countries and some regions…

    2. Anonymous said on April 1, 2023 at 7:14 pm

      It’s probably some bloated web application, if I’m to guess. All of this is not necessary. To accomplish the same thing, simply install Sweech – Wifi File Transfer.

      1. plusminus_ said on April 5, 2023 at 10:17 am

        I still use Sweech, love it. I think it’s the simplest Wi-Fi file transfer type app I’ve found.

        I think the clipboard copying is hit and miss with Android 11, though.

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