Google's AirDrop competitor gets new UI and an updated icon

Pixel 4 XL with display on and showing the multitasking menu
Pixel 4 XL with display on and showing the multitasking menu (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google Fast Share will let users send files between devices, similar to Apple's AirDrop.
  • XDA Developers spotted new UI elements and icon designs that show some progress is being made with Fast Share.
  • Android has lacked this native feature since Google deprecated Android Beam with Android 10.

Google has made some progress building out its upcoming Fast Share feature, according to screenshots posted by XDA Developers Editor-in-Chief Mishaall Rahman on Twitter. The screenshots show new iconography for the Google Fast Share button in the Share card, as well as redesigned interface elements throughout the sharing procedure.

The hope is that Google's Fast Share will be as easy to use as Apple's AirDrop feature. Early previews of Fast Share hinted that the service might work across platforms with Chrome OS, iOS, and even wearable devices in the mix, but nothing official has been announced.

Android phones used to rely on an NFC-enabled sharing setup called Android Beam, but the feature was phased out of Android in the latest version, Android 10. The new feature presumably relies on a combination of Bluetooth and location data to find nearby devices, eschewing NFC's necessity for direct contact.

Phones have long allowed direct file transfers via methods including Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth file transfer, but services like AirDrop and hopefully Fast Share make finding nearby recipients automatic and seamless, so long as recipient devices are set to be found.

Philip Berne