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Google announces improved Find My Device network for Android devices

Google has launched its improved Find My Device network in the U.S. and Canada. The technology is quite similar to Apple’s Find My service.

Android’s Find My Network is a crowdsourced network, i.e. it is powered by billions of Android devices. The service was originally announced last year during the Google I/O 2023 event.

Find My Network can locate offline devices

Google says that the new Find My Network will allow users to locate their lost Android phone or tablet by ringing them, or view their location on a map in the app. This works even when the devices are offline. Well, if you’re wondering how it works, it uses Bluetooth instead of Wi-Fi and Mobile Data.

Find My Network can locate offline devices

Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro can be located even if they are powered off

Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro users can use the Find My Network to track their phone even if the phone’s battery is dead, or if the device has been powered off. What sorcery is this? According to a statement given by Google spokesperson Natalie Johnson to The Verge, the phones have some reserve power, which is used for the Bluetooth chip. Apple and Samsung devices also have a similar feature.

Use Bluetooth Trackers to find your accessories

The new Find My Network service for Android will allow users to keep track of accessories such as keys, wallets, luggage, etc., if they have a Bluetooth tracker. You can use the Find My app by tapping on the “Find Nearby” button to locate an item on your map.

Use Bluetooth Trackers to find your accessories

Google says that the feature will begin rolling out from May, and will support tracker tags from Chipolo and Pebblebee. The service will be expanded later this year to add support for Bluetooth tags from eufy, Jio, Motorola, etc. The Find My Network also lets you pinpoint devices that are located in your home with Google Nest.

Share accessories with family and friends

The Find My Network can be used to share your accessories with your friends and family members. So you can use it to share your house key, TV Remote, Luggage, etc., and everyone in the group can use the app to track a lost item easily.

Share accessories with family and friends

The announcement also mentions that Find My Device network will soon add support for headphones made by JBL and Sony. The new Find My Device network is compatible with all devices that are running on Android 9 and above.

(Images via Google)

Google: “Find My Device is Private and Secure”

The Mountain View company says that the Find My Device network has been designed to be secure and private by default, with multi-layered protections to keep your personal information private, and allows you to control the devices that are connected to the network. It uses end-to-end encryption of location data, as well as aggregated device location reporting, to prevent unwanted tracking.

Google has published an article to outline how the location crowdsourcing works on the Find My Device network. It states that users will have an option to use the default setting and contribute to aggregated location reporting, or opt into contributing non-aggregated locations. You can also turn the network off completely.

You may be aware that Bluetooth tags are being misused by some people, i.e. to track and stalk other people, such issues have plagued Apple’s AirTag trackers and are expected to be fixed in the upcoming iOS 17.5 update. Google has a way to prevent such abuse. Dave Kleidermacher, Android’s VP of security and privacy, told The Verge that Google will apply rate limiting and throttling to reduce how often the location of a device is updated. This will help lost items to be found, while mitigating the risk of real-time tracking.

How I used Find My Device to track a stolen phone

On a side note, I was able to use Google’s Find My Device network (the old implementation) in January to track my mother’s phone and handbag, which had been stolen on a train. I rang the phone remotely from home, and my family, along with the help of the local police, used the sound to locate the bag and recover it.

I used Find My Device to track a stolen phone

The thief had stolen some cash and ditched the bag, but I think recovering the phone and the data on it was more important. Hopefully, the new Find My Device network will be even better, that is, if it is made available to the rest of the world.

To use it, make sure that you have installed the Find My Device app on your phone. You can log on to to find your device. Here’s a help article on Google’s website that has more information about using the service.

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