With the release of Apple’s AirTags, we’ve all seen just how powerful and useful the company’s Find My network can be to find misplaced items around our homes or lost items out in the world. Google apparently also took notice and appears to be cooking up its own version of the network for Android devices.
In recent days, XDA Developers did an APK teardown of the latest beta version of Google Play Services and noticed references to a possible Google “Find My Device” network. It’s not clear if that’s a possible name for the network, and was referred to as the “network title” in the code. XDA Developers also found a purported description of the Find My Device network.
“Allows your phone to help locate your and other people’s devices,” the description stated.
As pointed out by the outlet, Google is the only other company that could possibly build a device tracking network as large as Apple’s Find My network. Apple says that close 1 billion Apple devices are connected to Find My. In the case of AirTags, when one of those billion devices comes near an AirTag, Find My communicates the location to the owner of said AirTag in an anonymous and private way.
Now, if Google wants to build a similar network, XDA Developers points out that it can utilise the Google Play Services app, which is on nearly every Android device. Google Play Services is used to update Google apps and apps from the Google Play store. In addition, Google states the app provides services such as authentication, synchronised contacts, access to the latest user privacy settings, and higher quality, lower-powered location-based services.
That’s not to say that Google doesn’t already offer users a way to find their lost devices. It has the Google Find My Device app in the Play Store, but this app can only find phones, tablets, or watches that are logged into your Google account. According to XDA Developers, if Google does indeed create its own Find My Device network, this will presumably give Android users the ability to help other users locate their devices, as Apple’s Find My network does now.
This concept was spotted in the latest beta of Google Play Services, so it’s not by any means a done deal. We’ll have to wait and see. Nonetheless, just the indication that Google is working on this is a good thing for those of us who lose devices. If the worst does happen, we’ll have more chances to find them.