Google’s AirDrop competitor, Nearby Share, is working on a way to share Wi-Fi passwords from Android 12 to Chromebooks.

Over the last few years, Google has steadily been building up Nearby Share to be the equivalent of AirDrop for Android and Chrome OS devices alike. Currently, Nearby Share is able to share apps, files, and more from your device to a nearby friend or between two of your own devices. With Android 12, it became possible to even share a Wi-Fi network from one Android device to another.

As first noted by Chrome Story, Google has begun working on expanding the possibilities of Nearby Sharing on Chromebooks, allowing you to receive a Wi-Fi password from another device. This is possible as your phones or Chromebooks don’t need to be on the same network to use Nearby Sharing, you just need to be within Bluetooth range.

Like many other new features for Google Chrome or Chromebooks, this Wi-Fi sharing effort will start out hidden behind a flag in chrome://flags.

Nearby Sharing Receive WiFi Credentials.

Enables receiving WiFi networks using Nearby Share.

#nearby-sharing-receive-wifi-credentials

Just as you’d expect, sending a network over Nearby Sharing sends the basic info needed to connect to Wi-Fi, including the network name (or SSID), security type (e.g. WPA2 or WPA3), and password. With this information, the receiving device will be able to get online almost immediately after receipt.

Notably, much of the work right now is centered around Chromebooks being able to receive a Wi-Fi network via Nearby Sharing, but there’s no current sign of how Chrome OS will be able to send the info, if at all. But it’s important to remember that Google’s Nearby Sharing is not just for Chromebooks, with Android also fully supported.

In the short term, it will become much easier to share a Wi-Fi password from your Android 12 phone to your Chromebook, or to get a friend’s Chrome OS device onto your network. Considering the work has only just begun in the last week, we likely won’t see Wi-Fi sharing arrive for Chromebooks until at least Chrome OS 100 or 101, set to arrive in March and April, respectively.

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Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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