Google is working on upgrading the Find My Device service with the ability for people to locate a lost or stolen device even when it’s not connected to the internet. The clue pointing towards this feature was found in Google System Update’s changelog for December 2022. It states, “Find My Device now supports encrypted last-known-location reports for Android devices, using a new privacy-centric framework.“
Currently, the Find My Device service can track Android or Wear OS devices only if they are connected to the internet. The service allows you to remotely lock a device, sign out of the Google account on it, and even erase the device. However, all of these features work only if the device is online. Also, once a device is erased remotely, it can not be located anymore. An unwanted person could even get rid of Find My Device by simply formatting the device.
Google’s Find My Device could be as capable as Apple’s and Samsung’s in the future
Samsung’s SmartThings Find service is capable of locating a Galaxy device even if it is offline. The service works by connecting to a nearby Samsung device using Bluetooth and sending the location of a lost or stolen Samsung device to the owner. While Samsung’s lost device tracking system isn’t as strong as Apple’s, it still has over 200 million find nodes to help users find their devices.
Similar to Samsung’s, Apple’s Find My service is quite capable and fail-proof. If a lost or stolen Apple product isn’t connected to the internet, Find My uses the device’s Bluetooth and automatically connects with other Apple products nearby. It then sends the location of the device to the owner through nearby Apple devices. Since there are millions of Apple devices around the globe, Find My has a strong network, and that’s what makes it work.
Google’s lost device tracking system could be useful for Galaxy owners, too
With the upgraded Find My Device, non-Samsung Android and Wear OS devices will soon be able to talk with each other and allow people to find their lost or stolen devices easily. The beauty of Samsung’s and Apple’s device-locating service is that they are end-to-end encrypted, which means neither they nor the devices passing the info can see your device’s location. Google’s upcoming Find My network also seems to have the same feature.
Currently, there’s no info about when will Google roll out the Find My Device network. Going by the changelog, it looks like the company is in the final stages of developing the service, which means that it could be launched very soon. Hopefully, Google will bundle it as a part of the Android 14 package. Allowing the service to be integrated into other devices could also see brands coming up with products like Samsung’s Smart Tag.