Google’s Nearby Share feature debuted on Android phones and tablets as a way to quickly send files and apps from one Android device to another. Eventually Google brought Nearby Share to Chromebooks as well. And now the company has launched Nearby Share for Windows.
Available for Windows 10 or later, the app makes it easy to transfer files between an Android phone or tablet and a Windows PC.
Google launched a public beta in March, but now Nearby Share for Windows is out of beta, and Google says the latest version offers faster speeds, better reliability, and fewer crashes.
The stable build also adds estimated file transfer completion time and an image preview in device notifications, helping you see at a glance if the correct file is being transferred.
Once you install the Windows app you’ll be asked to sign in with your Google account and choose who can send you files (everybody, nobody, just people in your contact list, or just devices logged into your account).
Then you can drag and drop files or folders into the app to share them with your Android devices. Or you can use the Nearby Share option from your Android device’s share menu to send files to your PC.
I took the app for a spin and found that it took just a few seconds to wirelessly transfer a PDF from my phone to my computer. There was no need to send it as an email attachment, upload it to cloud storage, or save to a network share drive first.
While Nearby Share for Windows needs to be running in order to work, by default it’s set to launch and run in the background when you start Windows. So unless you remove it from your startup apps, once installed you shouldn’t have to go out of your way to open the Windows app in order to receive files from an Android device (which is why it’s helpful that you can configure who’s allowed to send you files).
In a nutshell, Nearby Share is Google’s answer to Apple’s AirDrop. But it’s hardly the first Android-to-PC file transfer app around. Microsoft’s Phone Link offers similar functionality, as do third-party apps like AirDroid.
What makes Nearby Share for Windows different is that if you have a recent Android phone or tablet, you won’t need to install any new apps on your mobile device, because Nearby Share is built-in. You do still need to install the Windows app though… at least for now. Google notes that it’s working with “partners like HP to include the Nearby Share app on select Windows PCs,” which means that the app will come pre-installed on some systems like the HP Dragonfly Pro… whether you want it or not.
For now, Google says that Nearby Share for Windows lets you transfer files to and from Android devices. But in the future the company plans to add support for other platforms, possibly including ChromeOS or Wear OS.
This article was first published April 3, 2023 and most recently updated July 19, 2023.