When NFC was first announced, the two big buzzwords associated with the technology were “spending” and “sharing.” Google has made it abundantly clear that they plan to use Google Wallet to handle the spending aspect of NFC. Google Wallet has been live for a short time now and has already been met with rave reviews. The sharing aspect of NFC hadn’t been detailed until tonight at Google’s live Ice Cream Sandwich event.
Available to any device with Near Field Communications running Ice Cream Sandwich (which will undoubtedly be just the Galaxy Nexus and S for quite some time), Beam is a built-in app for Android that allows two devices to share just about anything your phone can store by tapping two eligible devices together. Sharable data includes information from Android’s new People app, web links, map links, Android Market links, games, YouTube videos and other files.
Sharing through NFC is nothing new, but as Dieter Bohn of the Verge points out, on a major platform it is. With the way updates to hardware and software have worked in the past, by next summer everyone will be using Beam to share pictures, their favorite games and just about anything else you can imagine through the power of Android.