Google Is Working on Apple’s Find My Network Rival

BY Mahit Huilgol

Published 18 Jun 2021

Android is working on a “Find My Device network” feature similar to the Find My network on iOS. The latest beta version of Play services reveals that Google is pewpping a device locator feature that uses other Android phones.

Android phones already come equipped with a Find My Device feature. However, it works only when the lost phone is connected to a WiFi or cellular network. Meanwhile, Find My App on iOS works even when the iPhone is not connected to WiFi or cellular. It uses Bluetooth signals from nearby devices to locate iPhone when it is offline. Any other iOS device in the vicinity can pick up and send the location to the cloud.

Google is reportedly working on a similar feature that will leverage the network offered by billions of Android devices. Google Play services beta includes a feature titled “Find My Device.” It can be turned on/off. Interestingly, the feature is separate from Find My Device. In other words, you can choose whether to use your device as a network relay.

The API refers to finding “other people’s device.” It is not clear whether this refers to an item tracker or find devices like smartwatches and tablets. The new feature is named “Spot,” and it works with the help of encryption keys that are rotated at regular intervals.

The effectiveness of Find My App is proportional to the number of iOS devices. The number of Android phones far exceeds that of iOS, and thus Google’s Find My Device Network is likely to be more efficient than Find My App. We are not sure when the feature will go live. Google might offer it as a feature update or a separate app on upcoming iterations of Android 12. Apple has started supporting third-party devices on Find My App.

[via XDA]