Google has made a significant announcement at its annual Google I/O event, revealing the introduction of an upgraded version of the Find My Device feature for Android users. This new feature aims to replicate the functionality of Apple's Find My network, which has long been praised for its ability to locate lost items through a global mesh Bluetooth network. By expanding the capabilities of Find My Device, Google intends to offer Android users a comparable tracking system for their devices and belongings.
One of the key enhancements in Google's upgraded Find My Device is the support for Bluetooth-based trackers, extending the feature beyond phones and tablets. Users will have the convenience of viewing all their devices on a map, accompanied by a radar-like feature on their phones, which enables them to locate nearby items. This aspect bears a striking resemblance to Apple's Find My service, aligning Android's offering more closely with its competitor.
To build a comprehensive Bluetooth tracking network, Android phones and tablets will serve as nodes, potentially making it the largest such network globally. With over a billion Android devices currently in use, Google has the potential to create an extensive infrastructure. In collaboration with Ace and Chipolo, Google aims to integrate various devices into this network, although specific details about which products will be upgraded remain undisclosed. Notably, Google plans to update its own Pixel Buds, while select headphones from Sony and JBL will also be compatible with the network.
Additionally, to address concerns of privacy and security, users will receive alerts if an unknown tracker is detected, as a measure against potential stalking. It is worth mentioning that Google and Apple previously announced their joint efforts in this regard, ensuring that Android users will receive notifications if they are being tracked by an Apple AirTag.
Google emphasized its commitment to user privacy in a blog post, stating that the Find My Device network was built with privacy as a top priority. Location data collected from the network is encrypted end-to-end, ensuring that Google cannot access or utilize it for any other purposes. The company plans to share further details about the privacy safeguards implemented in the Find My Device network closer to the feature's launch.
Android users can anticipate the arrival of the new network in the upcoming summer months, bringing them closer to experiencing a Find My-like functionality tailored specifically for their devices.