Google is believed to be working on creating a network powered by Android phones that will allow them to track, locate and identify phones that may have been lost or misplaced. This will be, in many ways, similar to Apple’s very powerful Find My Network that can be used to track lost iPhones, iPads, Macs, and even newer AirTag trackers. This will be an extension of Android’s current Find My Device option, and the Find My Device network toggle appears for some users running the latest beta of the Google Play Services update. This can help locate Android phones even if they are turned off. Currently, Find My Device can only find phones that are turned on and have an active mobile data or Wi-Fi connection.
The latest beta of Google Play services, which was explained in more detail by 9to5Google, seems to indicate that joining the network or opting out would be the user’s choice. They also discovered something called Spot, which will use encryption and an encryption key that will be refreshed at specific intervals. At present, it is unclear what this new network of Android phones will be able to track and whether it will be limited to phones. Google hasn’t officially said anything about this feature yet, and it’s not yet clear whether the new feature will resolve the tracking limitation if a lost Android phone doesn’t have mobile data or Wi-Fi connectivity.
Android phones as part of a network are something Google has been working on late. A few days ago, the company talked about the expansion of the Android Earthquake Alert system, which will be rolled out globally this year. This system uses accelerometers built into most Android smartphones to detect seismic waves that indicate an earthquake. If the phone detects such jerks or vibrations, it sends a signal to Google’s earthquake detection server, with a general location of the phone. The server then checks this information with other Android phones in the area to see if they are reporting similar movements, to understand if an earthquake is occurring.
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