Wifi Password-Sharing Coming to Android and Chromebooks


A photo of an Android smartphone going into Nearby Share pairing mode

Nearby Share is about to get more friendly with your Chromebook.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

One of the reasons people use Apple devices is because they work so seamlessly together. You can easily hand off web browsing from your iPhone to your Mac, AirDrop photos to friends, or share wifi passwords between devices. Google’s Nearby Share aims to replicate that seamlessness on the Android side, letting you share files, photos, and apps with other devices using Bluetooth. And soon, Nearby Share will let you send wifi credentials from your Android phone to your Chromebook.

Chrome Story found evidence in the latest Chromium repository that Google is working on wifi network sharing between different devices. According to 9to5Google, the feature is likely to start behind a Chrome flag, essentially a hidden menu that you can access by typing in chrome: // flags in the Chrome browser on Chrome OS. The feature is referred to as “Nearby Sharing Receive WiFi Credentials.”

Once enabled, you can digitally push the wifi network name and its security type — whether it’s WPA2 or WPA3 — over Nearby Share. The Chromebook receiving the credentials will log online almost immediately upon receipt, which will make it easier and faster to access a wifi network at a friend’s house, for instance.

It’s unclear if the wifi credential sharing feature will work in reverse so that Android devices can receive login information from Chromebooks. But wand know that Google’s been working on more wireless integration between Chrome OS and Android devices. Earlier this year, Google announced you could set up a brand new Chromebook with an Android phone, starting first with Acer and HP laptops sometime soon.

Nearby Share is also expanding to the Windows operating system, which already uses its version of the wireless sharing spec that relies on similar protocols. FairPair will facilitate the ability, and you’ll be able to pair Bluetooth accessories and sync text messages, allowing more operability between you, your Android smartphone, and the computer you have on hand.

We’re not sure when we’ll see this feature crop up. Considering the timeline, we might be seeing wifi credentials over Nearby Share show up as soon as March, which is when Chrome 100 is due.


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