Google Turn Billions of Android Devices into a Massive Object-Tracking Network?

· 6 min read
Google's Find My Device - The Ultimate Solution for Tracking Your Lost Items
Google's Find My Device - The Ultimate Solution for Tracking Your Lost Items / Chipolo

Google's Find My Device feature has long been an indispensable asset to Android owners who've misplaced a phone or tablet, but did you know it can also assist in tracking down lost earbuds and tracking devices? In fact, this handy tool tracks any device connected with their Google account, making it essential for those prone to misplacing belongings. And recent improvements announced at Google I/O 2023 are taking Find My Device even further, providing even more ways for you to stay in control and safeguard your tech. So let's have a closer look!

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Enhancements to Google's Find My Device

Enhancements to Google's Find My Device
Enhancements to Google's Find My Device / Google

Google's Find My Device app has quickly become an essential resource for Android users to locate lost or stolen devices, making life much simpler when they become misplaced or stolen. At I/O 2023, the search giant announced updates that make this feature even more efficient, most notably being offline device tracking with Ping My Device, so users can track devices even when not online; furthermore, it now supports more devices, including earbuds and tablets for easier locating all their devices on one platform.

Google has also introduced additional safety and privacy features to Find My Device, such as Unknown Tracker alerts that notify users if an unknown device is tracking their location and following them around. This feature helps detect suspicious activity, so appropriate measures can be taken to secure devices and data; additionally, it will allow for better management of devices you share your location with, protecting privacy and safety.

Find My Device is now supported by billions of Android devices worldwide
Find My Device is now supported by billions of Android devices / Google I/O

Find My Device is now supported by billions of Android devices worldwide, creating an expansive network to assist in finding missing devices. Using peer-to-peer technology, users can locate lost or stolen devices even with limited connectivity or powered off. Google has made Find My Device much simpler to use while protecting privacy and safety at the same time! In addition, enhanced versions will simplify finding missing devices while protecting privacy and safety. These new improvements ensure users find them quickly without sharing personal data.

Third-Party Tracking Tags & Compatibility

Google announced that its Find My Device feature will now support third-party tracking tags from Tile, making the Find My Device network accessible and useful for tracking non-Android products without native tracking capabilities. In addition, using third-party tags adds another level of convenience and accessibility for tracking capabilities already offered by Find My Device.

The Chipolo Point trackers are exclusive to Google’s Find My Devices platform. / Chipolo

Google takes great steps to protect user privacy by encrypting location information and anonymizing data, rendering it virtually impossible for anyone, including themselves, to track a device or individual. Furthermore, their Find My Device network now features an Unknown Tracker alert feature designed to increase privacy and safety further. Should an unfamiliar tag come near or move alongside someone in the proximity of them, then it alerts the user and allows them to remove or report a lost/stolen tag immediately.

Google recently unveiled enhancements for their Find My Device feature, and third-party brands are taking notice. For example, Chipolo, Tile, and Pebblebee have created trackers compatible with Android's "Find My Device" network, allowing users to quickly locate lost items like keys or wallets quickly via this vast network of Android devices.

The Card Point tracker doesn’t look too bulky compared to a standard credit card, so it shouldn’t hog space in your wallet.
The Card Point tracker doesn’t look too bulky compared to a standard credit card, so it shouldn’t hog space in your wallet / Chipolo

Note that these trackers only work with Google's network and the manufacturer's app. They do not work with Apple's "Find My" network for iPhone owners who wish to utilize third-party trackers. Still, this expansion of third-party compatibility represents a huge step forward for Android users who have limited their options for object tracking. More third-party brands are expected to join this network, and the possibilities of finding lost items seem boundless.

Availability and Launch

Here’s what the trackers look like within Find My Device on Android /

Google will unveil their updated and enhanced Find My Device feature this summer, making it compatible with Android and Apple devices. With this upgrade, millions of Android phones worldwide will create the world's largest object-tracking network allowing it to more quickly locate any missing items such as phones, earbuds, tablets, or tracking devices that might go unfound.

While some users may express concern over its potential misuse, Google assures us that location data is encrypted to protect user privacy and that 'Unknown tracker alerts' notify them whenever an unrecognized tag or tracker has been detected nearby or moving alongside them, providing safety and privacy benefits simultaneously.

Tile tracking tags will soon provide compatibility with Google's Find My Device network for products without native tracking systems, making it possible to track possessions even without an integrated tracking solution easily. With this new feature, users will have an easier time keeping tabs on their belongings than before!

Unknown Tracker Alerts

At its annual Google I/O developer conference, Google announced an innovative safety feature called Unknown Tracker Alerts. It alerts users if an unknown Bluetooth tracking tag follows them around, adding another level of protection against unwanted surveillance.

Unknown Tracker Alerts
Unknown Tracker Alerts / Google

Unknown tracker alerts will become available to Android phones this summer. They will inform users if an unknown tracker is nearby or traveling alongside them, allowing them to view its location and disable it. This invaluable feature further expands Google's "Find My Device" network and protects user security and privacy.

As Bluetooth trackers become increasingly prevalent, Google emphasizes how important location security is to protect user privacy. With "Unknown Tracker Alerts," Android users will now have more control over their personal information and safety as they become aware of unwelcome surveillance efforts in their area.

Collaboration with Apple

Google and Apple have joined forces in an attempt to stop stalking through location-tracking gadgets by creating an initiative submitted as an IETF draft set of standards and best practices to notify iOS or Android users when they are being tracked without their knowledge via Bluetooth devices. The goal is for notifications when an Android or iOS user is being tracked via Bluetooth without their knowledge to be sent out automatically via notification systems such as Push Notifications.

Google and Apple's collaboration aims to address growing concerns surrounding Bluetooth tracking devices for stalking purposes, which makes users of Android and iOS platforms aware of when they are being followed or tracked and allows them to take appropriate measures against such activity. Working together, both companies take an affirmative step in protecting users against the misuse of location-tracking gadgets.

Notably, this partnership marks a rare instance of cooperation between these tech titans, who typically vie fiercely in the mobile device market. Yet, it will surely benefit users of both Android and iOS devices, who will receive enhanced privacy protection against potential violations.

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Google's Find My Device feature is an industry-changing innovation in object tracking. Will available across billions of Android devices worldwide, its ease of use makes locating lost or stolen items much simpler than before, while encryption of location data and "Unknown tracker alerts" provide peace of mind to those concerned about privacy.

Google is collaborating with third-party brands like Tile, Chipolo, and Pebblebee to build an increasingly comprehensive tracking system. Their work with Apple in helping prevent stalking using location-tracking gadgets is a testament to both parties' dedication to user privacy and safety.

As someone who has lost her phone, I am thrilled about these developments. With Google's Find My Device feature making my phone easier to track down if lost or stolen is comforting, while third-party tracking tags and unknown tracker alerts add another level of protection that gives me peace of mind.

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