Google adds fully offline communication and peer-to-peer file sharing to Android

If you have ever had to use apps like Flashshare, Xender,  SHAREit for peer-to-peer file transfer between two android phones without the internet, you might no longer need to do that. And It might be possible to finally use apps like Whatsapp, Messenger, Telegram without an active internet connection for users close to each other.

Turns out Google is now bringing peer-to-peer offline file sharing and communication to the core Android mobile operating system. Dubbed “Nearby Communication 2.0”, Google has opened up an API which enables developers create apps that allow offline media sharing and communication. Think about a “Whatsapp without an Internet” kind of thing. No need for internet bundles!

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The API specifies two designs as described in the Android blog;

  • Star: Useful for creating 1:N topologies where there’s a centralized device that others are especially interested in. For example, the host of an offline game, or the teacher’s device in a classroom quiz app.
  • Cluster: Useful for creating M:N topologies that allow for creating looser mesh-like networks. For example, a classroom app that supports forming ad-hoc project groups for realtime collaboration, or an offline hyper-proximity-based chat app.

Related post: Bluetooth 5 vs WiFi Direct: Which is the best for sharing files between smartphones

Existing messaging platforms like Whatsapp, Telegram, WeChat, Viber, Skype etc will have to take advantage of the API first by updating their Apps to work with Nearby Communication 2.0 API to allow offline communication.

Related post: Flashshare App: Share contacts, photos, videos and Apps from one phone to another

The communication is facilitated over existing wireless technologies on phone such as Bluetooth and WiFi. However, the people you are chatting with must be in “close proximity”, not a far off as this will need the internet. For now, keep an eye on any updates from your favorite file sharing or messaging app as the next version is very likely to take advantage of this feature.

Image: Android blog

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