Whatsapp is testing the new People Nearby feature to transfer photos, videos and files offline

The messaging app Whatsapp is working on a new feature of file sharing call People Nearby (literally “people nearby”) for the offline file transfer via Bluetooth from one device to another to people who are nearby, therefore analogous to services Nearby Share for Android devices and AirDrop for Apple iPhones. Revealing it is informative WABetaInfo, the portal that monitors the beta versions of WhatsApp in order to find new features in development. People Nearby would be implemented in version of WhatsApp Beta for Android. Since this is a beta version of the application, i.e. in the optimization phase, there is no guarantee that this service will arrive within the stable version of the app or possibly when.

To use the new functionality, the two devices – the one that sends the data and the one that must receive them – must have People Nearby activated. The sending device will then scan, via Bluetooth or WiFi, nearby phones that support the service. Subsequently it will be possible to select the target device, which will then be able to choose whether or not to accept the reception of the files. To carry out the operation it will not be necessary to exchange telephone numbers, therefore the recipient does not need to be present in the sender's contacts. The data transferred will be end-to-end encrypted and they can only be deciphered by the phone with which the connection is established, thus guaranteeing greater security.

In summary we can hypothesize that to exchange data through People Nearby you will have to:

  1. activate manually the service within Whatsapp (the recipient must also have enabled the service);
  2. to research users in the immediate vicinity;
  3. choose a device to which to send the data;
  4. accept the transfer by physical gesture or tap on the display.

The are not currently known maximum dimensions of files exchangeable via People Nearby, but it is possible to assume that the maximum size will be 2GB as happens with network transfers.

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WABetaInfo People Nearby