What you need to know
- Google's unwanted tracker alerts roll out, giving users notice if one has been traveling them alongside a map to see for how long.
- If a user's phone is brought close to the tracker, it will provide information about it and its owner.
- Google and Apple teamed up in May to tackle the unsightly unwanted location tracking problem.
- Google's new "Find My Device" network is still said to release this summer.
Google is in the process of rolling out a new security to give users some peace of mind while traveling.
According to Google's blog post, the promised unknown tracker alerts, announced during I/O 2023, are now rolling out on Android devices. If enabled, this feature will alert users if it detects that a Bluetooth tracker that users do not own is traveling with them instead of its true owner. Tapping the provided notification lets users view a map of how long it's been following them.
Furthermore, users can activate the tracker's sound so they can find it. For now, the alerts only work if they detect an unknown Apple AirTag. However, Google is working on expanding support in that regard.
Tapping the notification gives users some information about the tracker. Google states it will provide tips to users about how to take action if an unwanted tracker has been slipped into their bags. Bringing your phone into close contact with the device will unearth the last four digits of the owner's phone number and the tracker's serial number.
Lastly, Google states users can use its scan feature manually to locate any nearby Bluetooth trackers without waiting for an alert. It'll take a few seconds to return information, but users will be able to activate this feature by navigating to Settings > Safety & Emergency > Unknown Tracker Alerts > Scan Now.
As previously stated, Google announced that it was bringing its Find My Device network to Android devices "later this summer" during I/O 2023. A notable benefit of the network, which mirrors Apple, is the ability for users to utilize "Pixel Power-off Finder" to locate their phone even when it's completely shut down.
However, this is part of a larger narrative as Google and Apple teamed up shortly before the event to announce a joint effort to address the problem of unwanted location tracking. Apple felt the brunt of most of this problem due to its AirTag as people have criticized the company for letting heinous individuals stalk and harass others.
The companies got together to begin drafting new specifications that developers of Bluetooth trackers must adhere to as a way of curbing the issues.
As a result, Google announced that the "Find My Device network" has been delayed a bit as the company waits for Apple to finalize implement native tracker protections in iOS (beyond its own AirTags) and while the spec for unknown tracker alerts gets finalized. So far, it's not clear when this will occur, but Google hopes to have the spec completed by the end of the year.
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Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.