It looks like it will soon be possible to share Wi-Fi passwords between an Android device and one equipped with Chrome OS via Nearby Share, the protocol that Google developed in response to Apple’s AirDrop. Chrome Story colleagues spotted the first traces of its code in Chromium’s Gerrit.
Note that Nearby Share does not require devices to be connected to the internet – you just need to be within range of Bluetooth radios. In short, an optimal addition for a first configuration (or a reconfiguration, after a hard reset for example) of a device.
Nearby Share has been available for some time now and allows you to quickly share images, videos, links, apps and other files between devices in the vicinity of each other.
With Android 12, the first form of sharing Wi-Fi networks has arrived, but only between Android devices: as you can imagine, the procedure exchanges just the bare essentials of information – SSID, type of network security protocol (WPA3 or WPA2, for example) and the password – all in an encrypted and secure way.
The work of the developers suggests that they are indeed focusing on Chrome OS’s ability to receive data from Wi-Fi networks, while for now, everything is silent from the point of view of transmitting it. Basically, it makes sense: thanks to the SIM, a smartphone goes online much more easily than a laptop, at least in the vast majority of cases.
It is possible that, at least in the first phase, the functionality will be active only in one sense, and not in the other. In any case, as always, the initial phase of the tests will be managed by the usually specialized flag, reachable by following the address chrome: // flags # nearby-sharing-receive-wifi-credentials. For now, it is fair to point out that the flag is not available in any way, not even in most internal test channels.