What you need to know
- Google could be building an alternative to Apple's "Find My" network to help locate stolen or lost Android devices.
- The upcoming "Find My Device" network will leverage Google Play Services.
- Google's Play Services app is pre-installed on the vast majority of the 3 billion devices running Android.
A teardown of the latest Google Play Services beta update has revealed that Google is working on a "Find My Device" network to help users locate lost Android devices. According to XDA Developers, the network will leverage the Google Play Services app.
Just as you would expect, Google's "Find My Device" will work similarly to Apple's crowdsourced Find My network. But unlike Find My, the Android alternative is expected to be largely limited to phones and tablets. Apple Find My is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, AirPods, AirTag, and iPod Touch.
The strings added in the Google Play Services beta v21.24.13 suggest Google's "Find My Device" network will "allow your phone to help locate your and other people's devices." The Google Play Services app is installed on nearly every Android device sold outside of China. Once the "Find My Device" goes live, it is likely that most Android devices will be eligible to be a part of the network — including the best cheap Android phones.
While Google already offers a Find My Device app to help users find lost devices signed into their Google account, the "Find My Device" network will allow you to help locate other lost or stolen Android devices. No other details regarding the network are available right now, but you can expect more information to surface in the coming weeks. That said, it is worth noting that not all new features revealed by such teardowns see the light of day. Although the evidence makes it clear that Google is indeed working on a "Find My Device" network for Android, there is no guarantee that it will be rolled out as part of a future Play Services update.
Android should have gotten a Find My alternative to the iPhone, ages ago.
Better be a way to turn this feature off. Not all will be happy.
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