Google recently teamed up with Samsung to rebrand Nearby Share to Quick Share which is a wireless file sharing system and the social media chatting app, WhatsApp, seems to be working on a similar feature. It could potentially allow users to transfer various type of data files between two phones in a quick manner.
The new file sharing feature being tested by WhatsApp was discovered by WABetaInfo in WhatsApp’s latest Android beta version. The feature uses Bluetooth for file transfers and allows users to share files that have a size of up to 2GB. It acts as a more convenient option to transfer data compared to methods like sending files through the regular chat or using Cloud Storage which consumes a lot of time to upload to the server and then the user has to download it to their device, which consumes not only time but data as well.
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According to the screenshots shared by the feature tracker, both users will need to open the file sharing section in WhatsApp to send and receive files, ensuring they remain in close proximity. The user will have to shake the device to generate a share request. It’s important to note that this feature is also end-to-end encrypted, similar to the backups and chats in WhatsApp. This means that sharing files remain secure even outside of a WhatsApp chat and in an unknown network environment.
The new file sharing feature with people nearby is under development and it will be available in a future update of the app. There’s no word on when exactly the feature could debut.
While the feature is handled in a decent manner by WhatsApp, the question that arises is whether its a useful one or not, considering most Android phones have Google’s native Quick Share file sharing system that also works in a similar fashion and doesn’t require the person to have WhatsApp installed to receive or share files, for obvious reasons. However, it can be considered much more useful if it works the same way across operating systems, such as iOS and Android, which would make file sharing between the two much easier.