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Google begins rolling out ‘Instant Tethering’ feature to Pixel and Nexus devices

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Google started testing out the ‘Instant Tethering’ feature just the previous month. It seems like the experimentation period of the feature has concluded as Google has now initiated the roll out of this feature. It is currently being rolled out to selected devices including the Pixel lineup and Nexus phones or tablets.

The said feature turns your mobile device into a host for sharing data. The idea behind the feature is to ease the process of switching on and connecting to a tethered connection. Instant Tethering allows these devices connected through a common Google account to be seamlessly linked with each other. It will be activated the moment your Pixel C or Nexus tablet loses connection to the existing Wi-Fi connection.

Describing the said feature, Google executive Omri Amarilio said,

When you unlock a tablet such as the Pixel C, it will notice if there is no internet connection available, and will ask your Pixel phone if it has internet and battery life. If it does, we will give you an option to enable a secure hotspot and pair automagically, without even taking your phone out of your pocket.

For a smartphone to act as a host, it must be updated to Android 7.1.1 Nougat or above. While the other set of Google’s devices must run at least Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Other essential requirements for using the feature is signing in from a common Google account, running Play services, 10.2.98 update or later. Moreover, it may require server-side components for the smooth functioning of Instant Tethering.

To activate the same, you’ll need to open the Google tab under the settings menu of your device. In the Google tab, tap on ‘Instant Tethering’ option. You’ll need a data connection to activate this feature. As soon as you agree for the data connection, it will gear up the host. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections must be turned on to receive the data.

The Instant Tethering feature will also show up notifications on tablets and Google-owned smartphones informing about a ‘Wi-Fi hotspot’ availability. You can directly connect through the notification by tapping it once. It will begin the process with users being able to manually initiate by heading to Instant Tethering settings.

To rescue you from device powering off, the feature will automatically disconnect from the host after a timeout period of ten minutes or more. The automatic setting is a part of the feature as Instant Tethering consumes a lot of battery.

For now, only Google devices can access the feature, it is yet to witness a wider roll out to all Android devices. If you own a Google-branded device than you should see if the said feature has been activated for you. And if not, be patient, it will make it’s way to your device.

Simran is The Tech Portal’s newest member, and has a keen interest in covering enterprise tech and app tech. She reports from our HQ @ Jaipur, India.


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