Google Is Reportedly Working on an Android Version of a “Find My” Network

By Bill Toulas / June 18, 2021

Whereas iOS users can rely on a network of devices belonging to Apple’s ecosystem to locate their lost items, called “Find My,” Android users are limited to a centralized locked-down app that works strictly between them and Google as part of the Google Play Protect service. Called “Find My Device,” this cannot be considered a counterpart to “Find My” because it isn’t empowered by the massive network of Android users who could help ping the location of lost items. According to a recent XDA report, this may be on track to change soon.

The medium found that Google Play Services version 21.24.13, which is a beta release, contains the following two new strings pertaining to a network-based locating system.

<string name="mdm_find_device_network_description">Allows your phone to help locate your and other people’s devices.</string>
<string name="mdm_find_device_network_title">Find My Device network</string> 

The above definitely looks like something that operates by harvesting the power of the Android network, not just Play Store account logins like before. If it lands on “Find My Device” it will be a game-changer, as there are approximately three billion active Android devices out there. That’s a ton of untapped potential for Google to offer a powerful tracking service - and they’re, in fact, quite late to do it.

Of course, the roll-out of this service could be accompanied by the release of a Bluetooth tracker like Tile or Apple Tag, especially now that Google appears to be willing to play a more central role in the market. However, it is way too early for speculation on that front. Maybe we’ll get to see everything released along with Android 12 and Pixel 6, but these are not expected to see the light earlier than September.

If this new feature lands this year, it will be another blow for Huawei and its HarmonyOS, as it will be part of the Play Services that the Chinese phone manufacturer misses. Of course, this will be a negative element for the locating power of the new system for all Android users, too, as Huawei’s HarmonyOS has already nested inside 10 million devices, and this number is expected to grow bigger very quickly.

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