Something to look forward to: Google currently offers Android users a way to track their lost devices as long as they’re connected to the Internet and linked to the same Google account, but that functionality could soon be expanded to create the world’s largest crowdsourced network for locating other devices. This is expected to work a lot like Apple’s Find My network by having Android devices broadcast Bluetooth signals even when they’re offline so that nearby Android devices can relay their location to the cloud.
Back in April, Apple made a big move in expanding the Find My tracking network to third-party accessories, and manufacturers can now enroll in the Find My Network Accessory Program to certify their devices. This effectively opened up what is perhaps the best network of devices for tracking lost items, with over 1.65 billion active devices worldwide.
According to a report from XDA-Developers, Google may be working to replicate the Find My network with the Android ecosystem. This could be a major overhaul of the current Find My Device functionality present in Android devices that only offers the ability to locate devices that you’ve signed in on with your Google account and are connected to the Internet via either Wi-Fi or a cellular network.
The XDA-Developers team did some digging inside the APK package for the latest version of the Google Play Services app in the beta channel and found two strings that caught their attention, as they seem to indicate that a “Find My Device Network” service called “Spot” is in the works, which “allows your phone to help locate your and other people’s devices.”
At this point it’s not clear if this is a feature that will make its debut with Android 12, but a crowdsourced network of Android devices is a no-brainer, considering there are an estimated three billion of them currently in use around the world. Android is also significantly more popular when compared to iOS outside the US, so at least in theory it could lead to better chances of finding lost devices or items for Android users.