How Google Employees Use ChromeOS’ Nearby Share

Nearby Share is a feature that lets you quickly send files to other ChromeOS and Android devices.

Google has announced that its popular Nearby Share feature on ChromeOS and Android is now available for Chromebook owners as well. But what is Nearby Share?

Nearby Share is a proprietary way to send files between ChromeOS, Android, and, now, Chromebooks via a peer-to-peer connection. This means two devices form a private network and they create a wireless bridge that files can be sent over.

Nearby Share is Google’s equivalent of Apple’s AirDrop, which has been available for years on iOS and macOS devices. Both work basically the same way.


There are many benefits to Nearby Share (and AirDrop). The biggest one is that you don’t need an internet connection to send files between devices. Nearby Share lets you send files between devices as long as those devices can form an ad hoc network, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, among other technologies.

Nearby Share also allows you to send files between devices without giving the owner of the other device all your details – like an email address. This means you can retain some privacy when sending files.

Where and how might you use Nearby Share? Nearby Share is perfect for quickly sending a file to someone you meet at a conference or at a friend’s house. Nearby Share is also great for quickly sending files between your own Chromebook and Android devices.

How Google Employees Use Nearby Share


Google is a pretty secretive company (not as secretive as Apple, mind you – but still pretty secretive). That’s why it was cool when the company decided to give users a peek behind the curtain to reveal how their own employees use Nearby Share.

In a blog post, several Google employees revealed how they use the feature:

“My wife and I are avid travelers: the more off the beaten path, the better! At the end of each vacation day, we combine our photos and choose the best to share with friends and family back home, which isn’t always possible when we’re camping or staying somewhere without internet.  With Nearby Share, now we can transfer photos between our devices offline, so we’re always ready to share that special memory.” – Jesse Johnston, product manager

“As a software engineer, I often have to troubleshoot an issue on one device using data collected from a different device. So it’s really helpful that Nearby Share works seamlessly across Chromebooks and Android phones.” – Kyle Horimoto, engineer

“Like many people, I often switch between my phone and laptop. My favorite part of testing Nearby Share has been the ability to quickly share not just files or MP3s, but also text snippets and URLs, without the effort and hassle of emailing myself. I like to send news articles or shopping links from my phone to my Chromebook so I can read or comparison shop on a larger screen.” – Ryan Hansberry, engineer

“Nearby Share recently came in handy when I was helping my kids with a school project on ‘Fascinating Birds.’ On my phone, we found and edited the perfect image of a peregrine falcon. In a few taps I shared the image with a Chromebook, and it became the opening slide of their presentation.” – Vishal Ohri, technical program manager

How To Use Nearby Share


Using Nearby Share is easy. Here’s how:

  1. Select the file you want to share, such as a photo.
  2. Tap the Share button.
  3. Tap the Nearby Share button.
  4. People with devices capable of accepting files via Nearby Share will appear as options. Tap on one of the people.

And that’s it! Once you select the person to share the file with, the person receiving the content will get a notification on their device and they simply need to tap the accept button. Once they do the transfer will start!

Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.