Apple’s AirTags launched alongside an update to the company’s Find My network that practically utilized crowdsourcing to locate lost devices and items. It didn’t take long for Samsung SmartThing to gain a similar feature, and Google was spotted planning to do the same for Android in general. That crowdsourcing feature might be around the corner, but Android’s Find My Network might even go beyond that and even help secure lost cars.
The idea around using other devices to locate your lost phone is simple, but its implementation could be tricky, as Apple will most likely confirm. It involves making sure that a lost device is broadcasting a secure ID to any nearby device that can pick up the signal. It also requires that nearby devices are “enrolled” into that same crowdsourcing system.
9to5Google’s digging into a “dogfood” internal testing version of the Find My Device Android app reveals some of that feature’s details. Notifications will be sent to both the owner of the lost device as well as the “sighting user” when a lost phone has been detected, with an option to ring it if within range. All of these will be done in a privacy-respecting manner, the app promises.
Find My Device will also gain a co-ownership feature that will allow businesses of families to locate a device lost by an employee or family member. Sharing a device can be done via a QR code or link generated by the app. Since the app can’t really verify that the recipient is really your boss or a family member, you should be careful when sharing that link.
Android Automotive introduced the idea of Android running on the car directly rather than through a phone. That, however, also creates the possibility of your Google account and personal data getting compromised if your vehicle gets stolen. Find My Device will also gain the ability to add a profile lock to your car as well as remotely wipe data stored on it as if it were a smartphone.