Google rolls out new Find My Device network to Android devices


Location tracking

Image: Midjourney

Google is rolling out an upgraded Find My Device network to Android devices in the United States and Canada, almost one year after it was first unveiled during the Google I/O 2023 conference in May.

Users with Android 9 or later can now use the Find My Device application to locate their phones and tablets—even when offline or with dead batteries, if they’re Pixel 8 and 8 Pro devices).

The newly upgraded Find My Device network utilizes the Bluetooth proximity of over one billion active Android devices to help locate lost phones and tablets.

And, starting next month, it will also be possible to locate other items as well, provided that they have a compatible Chipolo or Pebblebee Bluetooth tracker tag attached.

“Nearby Android devices participating in the Find My Device network report the location of the Bluetooth tag,” said Dave Kleidermacher, Android Security and Privacy VP Engineering.

“When the owner realizes they have lost their keys and logs into the Find My Device mobile app, they will be able to see the aggregated location contributed by nearby Android devices and locate their keys.”

Google has announced that it will soon add support for eufy, Jio, Motorola, and other tags. Upcoming software updates will also make headphones from JBL, Sony, and other vendors trackable via Find My Device.

The new tracking network will also allow Android users to share trackable devices with their friends and family, making it easier to locate them if they go missing.

To make it even faster to find devices you lost around your home, Google’s Find My Device app now also displays a lost device’s proximity to your home Nest devices for easy reference.

Google Find My Device
Find My Device app (Google)

​Before bringing the new device tracking network online, Google says it had to ensure that it was designed to protect its users’ security and privacy, which explains the almost one-year delay since its introduction.

To do that, the company has implemented measures to protect the privacy of the location data collected through crowdsourcing and ensure the safety of all users in the network.

Safety defenses were also added before launch, including measures to prevent individuals from being tracked to their homes, blocking of crowdsourced location contributions made from users’ homes, rate limiting and throttling, and alerts for unknown trackers.

“Multi-layered protections built into the Find My Device network help keep you safe and your personal information private, while keeping you in control of the devices connected to the Find My Device network,” said Erik Kay, VP of Engineering.

“This includes end-to-end encryption of location data as well as aggregated device location reporting, a first-of-its-kind safety feature that provides additional protection against unwanted tracking back to a home or private location.”

Google has also added the newly introduced Find My Device network to the Android security vulnerability rewards program to take advantage of Android’s global ecosystem of security researchers.

Additionally, the company is working alongside select security researchers via its private grant program to further encourage targeted research.

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