When Google announced the Pixel Buds at the beginning of the month, we found out that the company had developed “Fast Pair” to painlessly connect your compatible headphones to your Android device. Thanks to a new blog post by Google, we now have more details on how this technique works…
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Unlike Apple that has developed the W1 chip to automatically connect its AirPods and Beats headphones to different iOS and macOS devices, Google is using Android’s “Nearby” feature to quickly and painlessly set up the Bluetooth connection between products.
The way Fast Pair works is pretty simple. First, turn on your Fast Pair-enabled headphones and put it into pairing mode. As long as Bluetooth and Location services are turned on, your device should detect the Bluetooth Low Energy broadcast. When it does, the phone or tablet will automatically send a “Fast Pair packet” to Google’s servers, letting it then get the headphone’s product name, image, and a link to any available companion apps from the Play Store.
All of this information populates on the Android device in the form of a Nearby notification. Just tap on it, and the Fast Pair process using Bluetooth will begin. When finished, the Nearby notification will let you know if it was successful and offer to take you to the Play Store to download the headphone’s companion app (if one is available).
Fast Pair is supported by all Android devices running Marshmallow (6.0) or higher and Google Play Services version 11.7 and up. While not all of the Made for Google headphones will have this Fast Pair functionality built-in, Google’s Pixel Buds, as well as a handful of other third-party options will.