Samsung and Apple have introduced their own crowd-sourced device tracking networks (via their respective “Find My” apps) for quite some time now. These are intended for instances such as losing or misplacing your phone, or other compatible items – with the more recent addition include both brands’ respective SmartTag and AirTag devices. Looking to join in the scene is internet giant Google, according to a discovery by XDA.
In the publication’s recent report, an APK Teardown of the latest Google Play Services beta (version 21.24.13) found hidden codes which suggest that the company is working on a crowd-sourced network for tracking and locating lost devices. But unlike Samsung and Apple, Google’s version seemingly leverages on its own ecosystem for device detection.
Two notable new strings were found within the code which led XDA to believe this. First is “Allows your phone to locate your and other people’s devices” and the second is “Find My Device network”. These further indicate that users could utilise this new function to also help other Android users find their lost or stolen devices, on top of locating your own.
It’s worth noting that the company does have an existing “Find My Device” app in Play Store, but its current build only allows for users to locate devices that are signed in to their Google account. It is possible that the crowd-sourcing version will be implemented to the app in a later update, or even be introduced as a new default feature on Android.
It is not known when Google is planning to debut this new tracking feature, or if it intends to include third party tag compatibility or even those outside of its ecosystem (ie: Apple AirTags). With even more tech companies reportedly looking into debuting their own tracking tags in the near future, a universal tracking app or feature would come in handy.