Google wants every kid on the playground to play together with Copresence

Google is about to unleash a cross-platform file sharing system. Jack Wallen addresses Copresence and his Apple-centric concerns.


There has been a rift between Android and iOS for a very long time. The two platforms have had trouble communicating and sharing to no end of frustration. If Google has their way, this will end. How so? The developers behind the velvet curtain are working on something new, something that could be a serious game changer with regards to cross-platform data exchange.

That "new" is Copresence, and Google was recently awarded a patent for the functionality. What I believe it to be is Bump (something Google acquired and then shut down), rebranded as an Android service.

What does Copresence do? Simple. With this new feature, Android and iOS devices would be enabled to communicate with one another in various ways:

  • Exchange files
  • Exchange photos
  • Share directions
  • Share messages

Effectively, Copresense would serve as a cross-platform version of Android Beam.

This is big. Very big. It's so big that I'm waiting for Apple to swoop in and sue Google for even thinking of the idea. Why? Because this goes a very long way to show how Google does, in fact, want everyone on the playground to play with one another's toys. Apple, on the other hand, has never been so forthcoming with the goods. They are the kings and queens of lockdown and want little to do with making it easy (or possible) for other platforms to garner keys to their solid gold kingdom.

The thing is, this is happening -- and imagine how amazing it will be to tap the Share button and be able to share that data with a nearby device, be it iOS or Android.

Think cross-platform AirDrop.

However, will Apple allow Copresence to work -- or will they lock down their platform and prevent it from working? As much as I hate to say this, my guess is that Apple will lock this down, even though Google is planning on debuting Copresence in "a few weeks" (probably with Android Lollipop).

There are already apps that handle this feature (such as AirSputnik), which allow you to share files across platforms (even desktops, in some instances). But there's a huge difference in having a feature rolled into a platform vs. having to search out a third-party app. The biggest difference is that most average users don't spend the time necessary to find these types of game-changing features, because they don't know how to find them. By baking the features in, Google gains a major step ahead in the way of user-friendliness.

What Google really needs to do -- and I believe they are doing it -- is extend Copresence to the desktop. A Copresence API has been spotted for Chrome. Could this mean your Android devices will not only be able to share files/data with iOS devices, but any Chrome browser on any platform, right out of the box?

How do you spell win?

If you were already excited about Android Lollipop, you should now have even more reason to anxiously await that major upgrade. With Copresence ready to serve up your files and data across nearly every platform (assuming Chrome gets to play along), Lollipop now looks like it could become one of the single most important upgrades to any platform to date.

Let's just hope Apple doesn't do what Apple does best.

What do you think? Is Copresence a game changer or will it crash and burn in obscurity? Is a cross-platform file-sharing system necessary for both platforms? And more importantly, do you think Apple will wall up their portion of the playground so no one can play with their toys? Tell us your thoughts in the discussion thread below.

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....