Google could soon introduce a seamless cross-device experience

Google could soon introduce a seamless cross-device experience
If you are in the Apple ecosystem, you are probably familiar with Handoff, a feature that lets you seamlessly transition tasks from one device to the other. For example, you have begun reading an article on your Mac, but after a few minutes, you decide to read it on your iPad. After simply unlocking the tablet, you will be greeted by a small icon, letting you open up the web page and continue where you left off.

In recent years, Android has made some strides in terms of getting closer to that seamless cross-device talk. Nearby Share works quickly and efficiently, as AirDrop does. And a Link to Windows app allows you to sync phone information, notifications, and files to your laptop — kind of how iPhones and MacBooks bounce off one another.

But there’s some more work to be done in order to improve that “ecosystem” experience, and Google seems to be focusing a lot of effort into that!

At this year's Google annual developer conference, also known as Google I/O, the tech giant presented a few new ways that could give us exactly that: a quick and easy transition between devices that talk to each other and share a common task.

Android 13 will let you copy and paste across your Android devices

A new feature of Android 13 will enable users to copy and paste across all of their connected devices, similarly to Apple's Universal Clipboard. This means that you will be able to copy a text from your phone, tap a quick Nearby Share pop-up, and then paste it on your other device as you usually would.

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This could be a very neat feature because you currently need to find a way to send what is on your clipboard via a message to your other device, copy it again, and then paste it. While this new solution still has one extra step, compared to Apple’s Continuity, it’s still much better for Android’s overall UX, where multiple devices are involved.

A new set of APIs for a seamless cross-device experience

The announcement further outlines a new set of APIs that will help developers build apps that will do more than just copy and paste some text from one device to another.

For example, during a car trip, you could be able to share a map location directly with your friend's car. Also, if you want to rent or purchase a movie on your TV, you could use your phone to enter your form of payment. Or, if you have multiple people ordering takeout, you can have all your guests just open the specific delivery app on their phones and send their orders to your basket.

Google stated that it intends to support cross-platform development for Chrome OS, iOS, Windows, and other platforms as well, so these functionalities won't be limited to Android only.

To create these APIs, Google took the methods Nearby Share uses to discover and authorize devices and gave them "additional capabilities" to allow developers to utilize them and create applications that "easily join devices in a shared experience while preserving user privacy."

These APIs will first be available through Google Play Services, and we can expect an early peek to be released in Q2 2022.

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