you will be able to easily find your lost or stolen Android

Google is finally deploying its new Find My Device network in France to help Android device users find their lost smartphones and other Bluetooth trackers without Internet or GPS.

It’s finally the end of this unfortunate mishap that doesn’t just happen to others. Because losing your mobile or having it stolen inevitably takes on a dramatic dimension when the device contains a good part of our lives. Personal photos, banking details, various contact details, messages… No one wants all this information to fall into the wrong hands. Fortunately, today there are simple solutions to find it (see our practical sheet). Apple in particular has an efficient network that allows you to find a lost iPhone, even when it is disconnected. For this, the location system uses Bluetooth technology. To put it simply, when an iPhone is lost, it emits a Bluetooth signal which is picked up by other iPhones, which then serve as relays. Using this system, the last known location of a lost device can be sent to its owner, via other people’s devices. The principle is also the same for AirTags.

Three years after Apple, Google is in turn deploying a network similar to what Apple offers, relying on Bluetooth and powered by all the world’s Android smartphones. Presented at Google I/O 2023, the “Find my device” feature began rolling out in the United States and Canada in early April, as the company announced in a blog post. It aims, as its name suggests, to help users better locate their devices. In an email sent to some of its users, the Internet giant announces the deployment of the network in France on Saturday May 25, 2024. Finally!

© Google

Find My Device: A Bluetooth network with millions of devices

Google has been offering a “Find my device” function for a while now, allowing you to find your Android device using its GPS coordinates. However, it was severely limited, while Apple was doing much better with its AirTag network. Also, in 2023, Google promised to create a similar network. It is now done. With this new version of “Find My Device”, users can find a lost Android device by ringing them or displaying their location on a map in the application of the same name, even if they are offline. Note that the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro have the right to a unique function, since they can be located on the network even if they are turned off or the battery is discharged – smartphones from other manufacturers should have the right to do so by following.

In addition to Android devices running Android 9 or higher, this new network will also support various Bluetooth trackers. Chipolo, Pebblebee, Motorola, Eufy and Jio have already announced compatible models. Some JBL speakers or headphones are also supported. You can find the full list of devices here – more will be announced later. Note that it is possible to share an accessory in the application with other users, so that everyone with access to it can locate it.

© Google

Aware that this type of service raises concerns in terms of privacy, Google ensures that its network “is secure by default and private by design”, with location data and aggregated location data reporting end-to-end encrypted. Additionally, to avoid abuse related to the use of Bluetooth trackers – spying, burglary, harassment, etc. –, Google worked in collaboration with Apple to develop a standard for locating unwanted tags from all smartphones (see our article). Now, an alert will notify users when an unknown Bluetooth tracker is following them. The network also limits the number of times one can obtain the exact location of a beacon to avoid overly precise continuous tracking.

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