What is Google Fast Pair?

Pairing a Bluetooth device, such as headphones or a speaker, to your phone is a pretty straightforward process. If anything, it’s simple. Yet, it can be tedious. Google Fast Pair makes things easier and more efficient.

The Problem

Many of us own multiple portable electronic devices, be it phones, tablets, and/or Chromebooks.  We log into them using our Google accounts and hop between them. At the same time, we have our favorite headphones, speakers, and Bluetooth accessories.

As easy as it is to pair devices together, it can become a nuisance. Why go through the process over and over again when all you want to do is listen to a podcast or playlist? Sure, it sounds like a “first world problem” but it’s a pain point whenever you buy a new phone or tablet.

The Solution

Google has a way to simplify connecting Bluetooth accessories to Android phones. The feature, called Fast Pair, was introduced back in 2017 and has recently been updated.

Described as a “hassle-free process to pair your Bluetooth devices on all supported Android devices”, it’s makes discovery and pairing easy for Android 6.0+ phones and tablets.

Google’s $159 Pixel Buds offer real-time translation, other smarts

 

In essence, Google Fast Pair ties your Bluetooth pairing details to your Google account. This way, whenever you log into a new device you don’t have to worry about pairing. Much like Chrome knows your username and passwords for websites, Fast Pair knows how to make your handset and earbuds work together.

How Fast Pair Works

Fast Pair uses Bluetooth Low Energy and your Android phone’s location to automatically discover accessories in close proximity , and automatically connects them via a simple tap.

When a Fast Pair-enabled accessory is in close proximity to your Android smartphone, the phone shows the accessory’s product image, its name, and any related companion app. Once you connect you’ll see a confirmation advising the pairing’s successful. The phone will also offer to download the accessory’s companion app from the Play Store. All of this is done without meddling with the Bluetooth settings.

As part of a recent update (November 2018), Google makes it easier for you to connect Fast Pair-compatible accessories to devices associated with your Google Account. Going forward, Fast Pair will connect accessories to all current and future Android phones (6.0+).

Looking ahead, Google says it will add support for Chromebooks in 2019, too. Once in place, Fast Pair will automatically pair and configure your Chromebook in the same manner; they do support Android apps after all.

How to Use Fast Pair

As indicated above, the pairing process employs traditional Bluetooth connection but in a more streamlined manner. With that said, here’s how to go about pairing your Fast Pair-enabled accessories.

  • Turn on the Fast Pair-ready accessory and put it in pairing mode
  • Your phone will notify you, asking to “Tap to pair” to the accessory
  • Tap the notification and Android establishes a Bluetooth connection
  • A success notification is shown with a link to download any related companion app

What accessories support Fast Pair?

As of today, the following accessories are listed as officially Fast Pair-enabled:

Google is currently working with dozens of manufacturers to bring new accessories to the market; we suspect they’ll arrive at the start of 2019. The annual CES trade show seems as good of a place as any to introduce them.