Google: Find My Device Network Launched following Apple’s Privacy issues

Google has officially launched its long-awaited Find My Device network, which it teased at last year’s I/O convention. The system uses a crowdsourced network of over a billion Android smartphones to assist consumers in locating lost devices, with basic functionality comparable to that of Apple and Tile. It is already available to Android users in the United States and Canada, with a global release planned for the near future.

“Today, the all-new Find My Device is rolling out to Android devices around the world, starting in the US and Canada,” Google said in a new blog post. “With a new, crowdsourced network of over a billion Android devices, Find My Device can help you find your misplaced Android devices and everyday items quickly and securely.”

The new Find My Device network is also compatible with Bluetooth tags from Chipolo and Pebblebee, with support for other brands expected later this year. As a result, if you attach one of these tags to your wallet, keys, or any other object that does not have its own Bluetooth signal, you will be able to track them as well.

One particularly intriguing feature was the ability to track a Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro even when they were turned off or had no battery, and many people have been wondering since the announcement whether this handy feature would be added to other smartphones in the future.

Google claims it is collaborating with other smartphone manufacturers and chipset vendors to provide this feature for future phones. The functionality should first appear on higher-end Android handsets before making its way to more cheap models.

Similar to the issues raised about Apple’s ‘Find My’ network, Google’s Find My Device network was designed with privacy and security in mind, so you’ll receive unknown tracker notifications if you appear to be being tracked by a Bluetooth tag you have not registered.

Beginning in May, you will be able to use the Find My Device app to locate objects like keys or baggage using Bluetooth tracker tags created by Chipolo and Pebblebee. Designed specifically for the new network, the tags will give you unknown tracker notifications across Android and iOS devices to warn you of any unwanted tracking.

Also coming in May is a Find nearby button, which can assist you in locating an object that may be lurking just next to you. Using the new Bluetooth tags, you can locate nearby goods such as a wallet or keys.

“Multi-layered protections built into the Find My Device network help keep you safe and your personal information private, while keeping you in control of the devices connected to the Find My Device network,” Google said in its post. 

“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.”

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