If you are in the Apple ecosystem, you’re probably familiar with Handoff, a feature that allows you to seamlessly transfer tasks from one device to another. For example, you started reading an article on your Mac, but after a few minutes you decide to read it on your iPad. After simply unlocking the tablet, you’ll be greeted by a small icon that allows you to open the webpage and continue where you left off. In recent years, Android has made some strides to get closer to that seamless cross-device conversation. Nearby Share works just as quickly and efficiently as AirDrop. And with a Link to Windows app, you can sync phone info, notifications, and files to your laptop — much like iPhones and MacBooks bounce off one another.
But there is still work to be done to improve this “ecosystem” experience, and Google seems to be putting a lot of effort into it!
At this year’s annual Google developer conference, aka Google I/Othe tech giant presented some new possibilities that could give us just that: a quick and easy switch between devices that communicate with each other and share a common task.
Android 13 lets you copy and paste across your Android devices
A new feature of Android 13 allows users to copy and paste across all of their connected devices, much like Apple’s universal clipboard. That means you can copy a text from your phone, tap a quick Nearby Share popup, and then paste it on your other device as you normally would.
This could be a very nice feature as currently you need to find a way to send what’s on your clipboard to your other device via a message, copy again and then paste. While this new solution still has an extra step compared to Apple’s continuity, it’s still much better for Android’s overall UX when multiple devices are involved.
A new set of APIs for a seamless cross-device experience
The announcement continues outlines a new set of APIs to help developers build apps that do more than just copy and paste text from one device to another.
For example, while driving, you could share a map location directly with your friend’s car. If you want to rent or buy a movie on your TV, you can also use your phone to enter your payment method. Or, if you have multiple people ordering takeout, you can ask all your guests to simply open the specific delivery app on their phones and send their orders to your cart.
Google stated that it intends to support cross-platform development for Chrome OS, iOS, Windows, and other platforms, so these features aren’t just limited to Android.
To create these APIs, Google took the methods Nearby Share uses to discover and authorize devices and gave them “additional capabilities” so developers could use them and build applications that “easily connect devices in a shared experience.” connect while maintaining user privacy”.
These APIs will first be available via Google Play services and we can expect to see an early preview of them in Q2 2022.
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