Android Beam was Google’s attempt at delivering a seamless local sharing feature on Android devices, in the vein of Apple’s AirDrop. Introduced in 2011, Android Beam is an NFC-based system that allows for short-range exchange of data between devices, and with the release of Android Q, it is going away.
Android Fast Share is meant to allow for short-range sharing between devices that are not connected to the Internet, so it requires the Bluetooth and Location services to be enabled on both ends. Sharing files is simple – you enter a name for your device, turn on Fast Share, and you see a list of devices available nearby. To send something, simply tap on a device; the recipient will see a prompt to accept or decline the transfer—much like when sharing with Bluetooth—and that’s it.
There’s also the option to give “Preferred Visibility” status to people that you’re frequently connecting to with Fast Share. This allows them to see your device when it’s nearby, even if you’re not currently using the service.