Google is making Near Share another Android sheet sharing target

In September, Google announced some updates to Nearby Sharing, including sharing to your own devices. Another upcoming change will show Nearby sharing “in the front row as a sharing option” in the system’s Android sheet.

Right now, “Nearby” appears prominently at the top of the share sheet next to the “Copy” button on Pixel phones, and it’s given similar prominence by other Android OEMs.

It now appears that Share Nearby will appear next to other share targets, which are represented by larger, circular app icons. “First row” can refer to the line between Direct Share and the alphabetic grid, or the Direct Share row itself.

It’s not clear from Google’s brief announcement if Share Close will take a permanent spot (1-4), or if it will be ranked by frequency but will remain in that row regardless of usage. (For example, with infrequent use, it will always remain in fourth position.) Another possibility is that Close Share will initially be placed in the first row as part of this update, but may disappear if not used.

Presumably the same double helix icon will be used. It’s a curious move on Google’s part, but showing it as a default share sheet target could lead to more usage since it’s more familiar to users than its current position above the share grid. It does result in users losing one spot, though putting Close Share in the Direct Share queue would lessen the outcry.

Google says this phone feature, listed in the changelog under “Device Connectivity,” is rolling out starting today with Play Services version 22.46. (22:43 seems to be the current stable.) That new release also brings:

  • Wallet – [Phone] Major improvements affecting the functionality of the digital car key.[6]
  • Developer Services — New developer features for Google and third-party app developers to support account management and machine learning and AI-related developer services in their apps.[6]

More about Play Services:

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