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As a frequent traveler, I can't wait for Google's Find My Device network

An Android-wide lost-and-found network is the dream.

Published onApril 4, 2024

Google Find my Device
Damien Wilde / Android Authority

Google’s answer to Apple’s Find My network and AirTags seems to be imminent. Leaks have intensified over the last few days, and the latest one suggests we might only be three days away from the network’s launch. As a frequent traveler and a slightly neurotic personal affairs double-checker, I can’t wait for Google Find My Device to go live.

Are you looking forward to Google's new Find My Device network?

929 votes
Google Find my Device connected devices
Damien Wilde / Android Authority

Well, technically, Find My Device is already live, but the version we see today is extremely limited. You can track your Android phones, tablets, Wear OS watches, and Fast Pair-enabled Bluetooth earbuds (like the Google Pixel Buds Pro and Nothing Ear 2). But, there are three restrictions:

  • This only works as long as the device is connected, otherwise, you get its last known location.
  • It relies on the device reporting its own location via GPS or Bluetooth, so it doesn’t use a network of every Android phone as a backbone to search for yours.
  • It isn’t open to third-party Bluetooth trackers like Tile or Chipolo.
Google's Find My Device network promises to be as powerful as Apple's network, and potentially more ubiquitous.

The next iteration of Find My Device will address all of those restrictions. It will work offline, supposedly even if your phone is turned off; it will turn every other Android phone in the world into a network node to help you locate yours; and it will allow third-party trackers to come on board. Tile, Chipolo, and Pebblebee have been bouncing on their feet for months, waiting to release their Google-compatible trackers.

This should essentially create an Android equivalent to Apple’s Find My network with a potentially wider reach, especially in countries and locales where Android reigns supreme and Apple has limited market penetration.

bluetooth trackers apple airtag samsung smarttag 2 chipolo one tile pro mate
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

And everything about this is appealing to me. I go on trips — anything from single-day trips to weekends to long vacations — at least once a month. Just between today and August, I’m planning on going to Saint Quentin, Chartres, Copenhagen, Malmö, Rouen, Beirut, Antwerp, London, and Tirana. I need some peace of mind regarding my phone, smartwatch, and earbuds. I will also have to leave my luggage on planes, trains, and cars, and I would love to be able to track them.

That one time my suitcase ended up in Peru while I was in Beirut wasn’t fun, and neither was the uncertainty that it would ever be returned to me. Luckily, it was.

samsung smarttag 2 galaxy s21 plus connected tracking
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Find My Device should help with all of this. And it should work with all of my Android phones, regardless of what I’m testing or using at the moment. This was my main gripe with Samsung’s Galaxy SmartTag2 when I reviewed it: The tracker only works with Samsung phones. So if I’m testing a Pixel Fold, using a Nothing Phone 2, or defaulting back to my Pixel 8 Pro, I also have to lug around my Galaxy S24 Ultra wherever I go as a secondary device — with a valid connection! — to be able to use the tag. I do not want to be tied like that.

Samsung's SmartTag2 tied me to its phones and I don't like that. Give me an Android-wide network instead!

My second issue with the SmartTag2 was that it relied on a network of Samsung-only devices as its backbone. Sure, that worked well inside Paris and in most of France, but it wouldn’t be as reliable in locales where Samsung phones aren’t extremely popular. An Android-wide network should trump a Samsung-only network, by default.

samsung smarttag 2 in hand keys 1
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

So, just give me a few Bluetooth trackers that work across all of the Android ecosystem and a network that monitors all of my devices, and I’ll be a happy camper. I’ll stick them to my keys, wallet, and luggage; I’ll carry my phone, watch, and earbuds; and then roam around Paris or travel across Europe with a bit more peace of mind. That’s all I really want from this feature.

Unfortunately, we know the delay isn’t Google’s fault; it’s Apple’s. So we wait for Cupertino to deign launch unknown tracker alerts for Google’s Find My Device network, and then we should be good to go. I just hope this happens before my upcoming trips!

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