Android phones just got a cool free performance upgrade from Google

Nearby Share is getting a whole lot more useful and there are stacks of other useful improvements too

Samsung Galaxy S22 Android phone being held by a woman in a black leather jacket
(Image credit: Samsung)

No matter how much of a fan you are of a particular platform or OS, you have to admit that sometimes the other guys have some pretty great ideas.

If you're an Android user, a good example of that is Apple's AirDrop, which I use constantly to send frightening memes to my kids, music and web links to my friends and files and images from my various devices to my computer. So I think if you're an Android user you're going to love the performance improvements to Google's Nearby Share, which is getting similar powers to the Apple iOS equivalent.

Nearby Share works with the best Android phones, best Android tablets and best Chromebooks so you can share photos, videos and even folders with other people. But now it's being upgraded to enable sharing with yourself, and that's a really important improvement. Here's why.

Android Nearby Share

(Image credit: Google)

Why it's good to share with yourself

As Google explains on the official Google blog (opens in new tab), "In the next few weeks, you’ll be able to use Nearby Share to effortlessly transfer files across your own devices. Just select Android devices logged into your Google account from the sharing menu to quickly share files between them. And once you’ve opted in, transfers between devices you own are automatically accepted — even if your screen is off." The sharing features will also get SharePlay-style group views with up to 100 participants.

While Nearby Share is the headline feature, the new update also improves Android's accessibility. For example Google TV now has some movies with audio descriptions you can play via Google Assistant, and there's a pinning feature coming to Google Meet that'll enable you to pin specific video feeds; as Google points out, that would enable you to pin feeds from "your boss, a sign language interpreter or your best friend."

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).