Beating Apple AirTags to the punch, Samsung launched its Galaxy SmartTags last year to offer an alternative to the popular Tile trackers. The Bluetooth-enabled accessories worked in tandem with Samsung’s improved SmartThings Find in order to create what is practically a crowdsourced network of users that can help locate any lost item, even if they’re outside of Bluetooth range. That said, that system may have also raised some questions about privacy that Samsung will be addressing next week with an important update to SmartThings.
There are actually two things that will be arriving once that update lands. Next week, Bixby will allow hands-free, voice-activated search for Galaxy SmartTags. You can ask Bixby to look for an object attached to a SmartTag with a nickname and it will ring the tracker if it’s nearby.
The more important new feature, however, might be the Unknown Tag Search. It will scan SmarTags within the area that doesn’t belong to the user. The presumption is that a SmartTag that is moving along with you is most likely also trying to track you.
Samsung does try to assure users that, outside of this stalking activity, Galaxy SmartTags and SmartThings Find are designed to be secure and private. User data is promised to be encrypted and protected through a random ID that changes every 15 minutes. Additionally, the SmartTag’s location is also promised not to be revealed to anyone other than the owner of the tracker.
This updated to SmartThings Find comes on the heels of the availability of the Galaxy SmartTags+. Like the older SmartTags, this upgraded model uses Bluetooth Low Energy but adds Ultra-Wide Band or UWB tracking but the latter does require a phone that also supports the wireless technology as well.