Not long ago, Google lacked an alternative to Apple's wireless peer-to-peer file transfer system, AirDrop — another factor along with iMessage that keeps users within Apple's walled garden. This led smartphone companies to come up with their own file sharing solutions, such as OnePlus with its own File Dash. Now that Google has added Nearby Share to Android, OnePlus is letting go of its home-grown alternative.
Android and macOS have never been the biggest friends. While Android app development is an easy feat for Apple's desktop OS, the situation is much different for simple file transfers. There is Google's Android File Transfer application, but the program is hopelessly outdated, finicky, and prone to crashes when you transfer a lot of data at a time. You don't have to rely on Google's tool for transfers, though — there are a ton of third-party apps that solve moving files between Android and macOS much better.
Dropbox is shaking up the dog days of this summer of working from home with the deployment of a few features that have been in beta for what feels like forever. Plus, it's also spinning off its documenting scanning feature into an app and introducing a file transfer service with separate quotas to users' cloud storage.
Mozilla is one of the champions for internet freedom and privacy – which is part of why I love the company and its work – so it's no surprise that it "graduated" one of its experiments to a full-fledged product. Meet Firefox Send, a free, encrypted file-transfer service.
AirDroid, the free app that offers easy file transfers and remote management for Android devices, remains one of the best and most consistent apps on the Play Store. Developer Sand Studio is scrupulous in maintaining the app's functionality and improving it with new features and design tweaks. Today the dev introduced what's probably the biggest change to the platform since it offered a paid option: a complete visual overhaul. Everything from the layout to the logo to the promotional web page has been updated.
Google dropped the news last week that Nearby was about to get a whole lot more interesting. With the use of Bluetooth and a special blend of tricks collectively known as Location Services, Google will enable Android devices to learn about all manner of things in close proximity, whether they be Eddystone beacons, Chromecasts, or even Android Wear watches waiting to be set up. In the announcement, it was mentioned that an update to Google Play services would be rolling out shortly that adds support for all of these new features, and this is the one. While most of the features have already been disclosed, there's one in the teardown that wasn't mentioned.
Pushbullet added two small, but useful, new features this morning. First, replying to group SMS from a computer or tablet is now (finally) supported. In a small gesture of holiday goodwill, Pushbullet won't count group SMS messages against the 100 message limit for non-paying users for the rest of the month.
Group texting is now available through Pushbullet's Chrome extension, Windows desktop app, and Pushbullet's website. Support for Safari, Opera, and Firefox is coming soon. Replying to group texts also requires a phone running Android 5.0 and above.
The second change Pushbullet added this morning pertains to the new remote files feature that was added earlier this month.
AirDroid offers one of the more Android-themed ways to get files from your computer to your smartphone or tablet. It's green, there's a bugdroid in the logo, and, well—this isn't the point. Besides, file sharing is just scratching the surface. AirDroid lets you control your device remotely, accessing texts and turning on the camera. Now the developers have rolled out a number of intriguing features in the latest updates to its Windows and Mac desktop clients.
On the Windows side of things, there's a new desktop widget. It lets you access much of the functionality the main client offers without having to load up the full window.
Everything stored on computers takes up data (this is going somewhere, I promise). We humans, being the social creatures that we are, feel compelled to share things with others. This biological inclination didn't go away with our relatively new obsession with digital things, so we now find ourselves regularly wrestling with the issue of getting data that's stored on one of our devices onto someone else's. WeTransfer and its new Android app can help with that. It's far from the only one that can, but its forgiving file limit makes it a compelling option.
WeTransfer does one thing, and that's all it cares to do.