Google challenges Apple with Find My Device for Android

Google has announced the roll-out of its Find My Device technology, allowing you to locate your Android devices.

Find My Device was first teased at Google’s I/O event last year and is finally being released globally, starting in North America.

The technology uses a network of crowdsourced Android devices to pinpoint the location of a missing smartphone, tablet, or electronic tag.

“The Find My Device network locates devices by harnessing the Bluetooth proximity of surrounding Android devices, [and the user] will be able to see the aggregated location [of their device] contributed by nearby Android devices,” a Google blog post explains.

This is similar to Apple’s “Find My” software, which was released as an all-inclusive app in 2019.

Locate devices when offline

Android users will be able to locate their devices on a map and ring them even while they are offline.

Pixel 8 and 8 Pro owners will have the added benefit of tracking their smartphones while powered off.

Bluetooth tracking tags

Bluetooth tracking tags will become compatible with the app in May.

Unlike Apple and Samsung, Google’s service will support several manufacturers.

However, you won’t be able to use just any Bluetooth tags.

Google mentions that you must use Chipolo and Pebblebee tags built explicitly for the Find My Device software.

The tags must be compatible with “unknown tracker alerts” on Android and iOS, to protect people from unwanted tracking.

Google said it would make more tags compatible later this year.

Nearby items and pinpointing using Nest

The “Find nearby” feature will let you scan for any items in your immediate vicinity.

If you have a Google Nest and have lost a device in your home, Find My Device will give you the location of the device relative to the Nest device.

Sharing devices with friends

Find My Device users will also be able to share a device’s location with a friend.

Like Apple’s Find My, users can share their smartphone’s location with friends and family.

Find My Device network protections

Google says it has implemented multi-layered security into Find My Device to protect user data.

All location data is end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) and disallows Google from identifying the owners of nearby devices.

Google has also implemented measures to prevent unwanted tracking or stalking using the app.

Find My Device focuses on locating devices and connecting to the crowdsourced network in public spaces, decreasing tracking near private spaces.

Android and iOS devices will receive alerts if the app suspects a Find My Device-compatible tag is tracking them.

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Google challenges Apple with Find My Device for Android