Google Launches Find My Device Network

In an anticipated announcement, Google GOOG -0.94%↓ this week launched its Find My Device network on Android devices, starting in the United States and Canada.

Google, which is competing with the Apple AAPL 0.76%↑ AirTag, said that users can locate a compatible Android phone and tablet by ringing them or viewing their location on a map in the app, even when they are offline.  Pixel hardware, Pixel 8 and 8 Pro owners will also be able to find their devices if they’re powered off or the battery is dead, the company said.

Google’s Find My Device allows users to find all kinds of stuff (Image: Google).

Starting in May, users will be able to find keys, wallets or luggage with Bluetooth tracker tags from Chipolo and Pebblebee in the Find My Device app, the company said.  “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 eufyJioMotorola and more,” said Erik Kay, Google vice president of engineering, in a blog post.

Because people lose items at home—more often than not—the company said the Find My Device app now shows the proximity of the lost item to a home’s Nest device as a reference point.  In addition, a share features allows users to have a roommate or others keep an eye on an item in the app.

In terms of security, where Apple’s AirTag has been criticized after stalking incidents (AirTags are getting anti-tracking protection, starting in iOS 17.5.), Find My Device is secure by multi-layered protections built into its network, Google said.  “This includes end-to-end encryption of location data as well as aggregated device location reporting, a first-of-its-kind safety feature that provides additional protection against unwanted tracking back to a home or private location,” Kay said.

In the future, with software updates, headphones from JBLSony and others will join the Find My Device network, Google said.


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