Google 'Copresence' could be a cross-platform AirDrop rival

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There are several services that let you swap files and data between Android devices and PCs. But now it appears Google is building such a feature into Android itself, dubbed 'Copresence.'

At least that's the best guess. It's not clear what Copresence does, exactly, but from what limited information is available the new feature appears to be similar to Apple's AirDrop service for iOS and OS X Yosemite devices.

Unlike Apple's AirDrop, however, Copresence could work on Android, iOS, and possibly Chrome.

Why this matters: Sending and receiving files between mobile devices is not as simple as it could be, which is why Android apps such as AirDroid are so handy. NFC-enabled Android devices can use Android Beam to share data, but many users don't even know it's there and Beam is limited to Android devices. With AirDrop expanding across Apple's platform to include Macs, Google may be looking to maintain feature parity across its mobile and PC platforms.

Google Play hints

The bulk of the information about Copresence comes courtesy of teardowns of the latest Google Play Services update. Sites such as Android Police and TechAeris took a peek into the APK, revealing references to Copresence. This included some art work that shows files and data being transferred between devices.

copresencehero Android Police

Android Police says that two devices sharing via Copresence would first authenticate with each other using Bluetooth or maybe even location data. Then files and other data would be transferred using Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi Direct.

Beyond Android, there are also references to Copresence in Google's developer documentation for Chrome. Copresence for Chrome is currently an experimental application programming interface (API) for the developer channel. Google describes Copresence as a way to "communicate with other nearby devices using Google's copresence service."

It's not clear when Copresence might roll out, or if it even will, but we've been expecting something like this from Google for some time. In September 2013, Google acquired Bump, the file swapping app for Android and iOS. The standalone app exited Google Play and Apple's App Store in January.

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