Direct Share makes it even easier to share to your contacts in Android

No other mobile OS handles interactions between apps quite as well as Android. With the release of Android 6.0, Google took this idea and went one step further. We use dozens of apps every day, several for communication. Instead of sharing everything to everyone every time, it makes a lot of sense to make it easy to share something with a single person, especially someone we communicate with on a regular basis.

The function is called Direct Share, and it makes it incredibly easy to share something from just about any app directly to someone you talk to on a regular basis. Here's how it works.

Just about everything you use on Android has some kind of share function. It's baked into cloud storage apps, social networks, photo editors, and a surprising number of games for people who want to show off their high score. The share function in Android will let you send a link or a file to just about every other app on your phone, which makes organizing links for a research project or sharing photos and even the occasional meme super easy. Direct Share adds a new section to the list of available share targets, only instead of apps those share targets are more specific.

Direct Share

In most cases, those share targets are people. Specifically, people you communicate with on a regular basis. If an app supports Direct Share, you'll see the people you communicate with most frequently in those apps. There are some exceptions, Google Drive for example allows you to Direct Share with folders you frequently use. The key here is a person or part of an app your frequently use. Direct Share lets the apps make that information available to the user, which in turn makes it so information can be shared with fewer steps in between the share button and the destination.

In the event that you use multiple apps for communication, or there are multiple apps you frequently use that takes advantage of Direct Share in different ways, you'll note that no app can use all of the space available in this Direct Share area. The contact bubble includes a small app icon to let you know where you're sharing to that contact, so while there's potential for duplicates it isn't hard to avoid. There's currently no way to give an app or contact priority over any other outside of your daily usage, and as a result this section can change frequently based on how you use your phone.

The biggest challenge with Direct Share right now is actually using the feature. Currently the list of apps that support the feature doesn't even include Google's own Hangouts instant messaging service, so to say there aren't a lot of apps supporting the function yet is something of an understatement. The biggest apps currently supporting this feature are WhatsApp, Google's default SMS app on Nexus phones, and Google Drive. As we see more manufacturers update to Android 6.0, Direct Share is bound to be a feature target for more and more developers.

Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter