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Google Launches New "Find My Device" Network

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Apr 8, 2024, 11:44 AM   by Rich Brome
updated Apr 9, 2024, 12:10 PM

Updated: Added "stalking" to clarify last sentence.

Google has launched its new Find My Device app and service, which mimics the capabilities of Apple's Find My app and service, and works in a similar way. Both systems tap into the Bluetooth functions of billions of smartphones and other devices worldwide to help find lost devices and items via automatic crowdsourcing. Location data is aggregated and encrypted to ensure anonymity and privacy. Google's system can be used to locate Android devices starting today, and new Bluetooth tracker tags starting in May. Unlike Google's existing phone-finding system, the new system can find lost devices even when they're offline, and can even find a Pixel 8 or 8 Pro when it's off or the battery is dead. The system provides long-range tracking by showing location on a map, as well as a short-range "Find nearby" mode that shows when you're getting closer to the lost device as you walk around. It can also tap into a Nest smart-home and show to which Nest device the lost item is nearest. The app also lets you share permission to track a device with other people. The new Bluetooth tracker tags will be available from Chipolo, Pebblebee, eufy, Jio, Motorola, and more. The tags will be fully compatible with the new cross-platform unwanted tracking protections developed by Apple and Google. iOS 17.5 brings new support for this standard, ensuring that Apple phone users are protected from stalking via tracking tags using Google's ecosystem, and vice-versa.

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