Google launches Android-powered Find My Device network

  • Google has announced the launch of its new Find My Device network.
  • Teased at Google I/O last year, it utilises a network of over one billion Android phones in order to help users identify lost gadgets.
  • It is being released in the US and Canada for now, but a wider global release will happen soon.

Last year at its annual I/O developer conference Google teased a new feature that it was working on called Find My Device. It essentially leverages a network of over one billion Android phones in order to assist users locate other lost devices.

That feature is now making its way to Android phone owners, with Google starting in the United States and Canada, and a wider global rollout said to be happening soon, although a precise date or timeframe has not been mentioned.

When it does indeed get released to more regions, compatible Android phone and tablet users will be able to download a Find My Device application, with there being two primary methods of tracking or identifying a lost gadget – either by making it ring if it has such functionality or by pinning its live location on a map.

There are a few other methods available too, but these are limited to selected devices. These include the ability to locate a gadget that is offline for example, but this function is only available on the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro phones for now.

“Starting in May, you’ll be able to locate everyday items like your keys, wallet or luggage with Bluetooth tracker tags from Chipolo and Pebblebee in the Find My Device app. These tags, built specifically for the Find My Device network, will be compatible with unknown tracker alerts across Android and iOS to help protect you from unwanted tracking. Keep an eye out later this year for additional Bluetooth tags from eufy, Jio, Motorola and more,” added Google in a blog post.

“If you’re close to your lost device but need a little extra help tracking it down, a “Find nearby” button will appear to help you figure out exactly where it’s hiding. You’ll also be able to use this to find everyday items, like your wallet or keys, when Bluetooth tags launch in May,” it continued.

Those with a Nest device or ecosystem within their home will also be able to leverage the functionality of Find My Device, as it can identify the proximity of lost devices too, provided they are connected to the Nest system.

One of the other applications, is a little divisive in our book. Here Google explained that the new feature could be used for sharing smart accessories with friends.

“For instance, share your house key with your roommate, the TV remote with your friend or luggage with a travel buddy so you can easily divide and conquer if something goes missing,” it pointed out.

As we have seen with Apple AirTags in recent years, there is scope for the practicality of these tracking devices to be used for nefarious means. Hopefully, this is something that Google is actively looking at ahead of the global release of Find My Device.

Either way, it will be interesting to see what the uptake of this new feature will be, especially as it will be accessible to any Android phone or tablet running the Pie (Android 9) operating system or higher, which was released in 2018.


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