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Google's long-awaited Find My Device network launches today

It works similarly to tracking tech used by Apple and Tile.

Google

Google has finally launched its long-awaited Find My Device network after teasing it at last year’s I/O event. The technology leverages a crowdsourced network of over a billion Android devices to help people locate lost gadgets, with a basic functionality in line with similar offerings from Apple and Tile. It’s rolling out today to Android users in the US and Canada, with a global release coming soon.

Once installed, people can use the app to locate compatible Android phones and tablets. The tool will cause them to ring at your command and their location will pop up on a map. This map data works even if the items are offline. Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro smartphones will appear on the map if they’re powered off or if the battery is completely dead. That sounds pretty handy.

The technology isn’t yet available for everyday items, but that’s coming soon. Bluetooth tracker tags from Chipolo and Pebblebee will get integrated into the Find My Device app in May. This will let users locate just about anything, including car keys, purses, wallets and, hopefully, wandering felines. The upcoming tags are being built specifically for the network.

An image of three new Pebblebee trackers.
Google

The Pebblebee offerings include tags, clips and slim cards for wallets. They hit store shelves in late May or early June. Chipolo is making versions of its One Point and Card Point trackers for Android devices, which will arrive in May. Google says more trackers are coming later this year, including products made by Motorola and eufy.

Google’s Find My Device service also integrates with Nest smart home gadgets. If you lose something in the home, the Find My Device app will show you the location of the item in relation to pre-existing Nest devices. This should help provide an “easy reference point” to snatch them back up.

Finally, there’s a nifty feature that lets you share the location of an item with other people, so friends and family can keep an eye on precious belongings. Google says it’ll let folks “easily divide and conquer if something goes missing.”

The new Find My Device tracking technology works on devices running Android 9 and above. That OS came out in 2018, so it means a whole lot of people will have access to this service. As for compatible products beyond Android devices and Bluetooth tags, the company says future software updates will allow integration with a full range of headphones from JBL and Sony.

Of course, there are the usual privacy concerns with this kind of thing. Google says that users can opt out of the service via a web portal if they feel uncomfortable, according to a story by The Verge. Reports indicate that the technology has been ready for a while, but Google delayed it until Apple implemented tracking protections into iOS to address stalking concerns. To that end, both companies announced a partnership last year to develop industry standards to fight the misuse of tracking devices. Apple applied updated protections against stalking in iOS 17.5, which is still in beta.

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