It seems like Google might want to make some massive changes to its already existing Find My Device app, that’s available on the web, smartphones and tablets running Android. The app shows the device’s last known location, and it offers options to ring it, securely lock the device, or even erase it completely.
The news was uncovered by XDA Developers, they report that the latest Google Play Services app has two strings, which might suggest that Google might want a slice of that – tracking device business – pie.
The current version of Find My Device can help you locate devices, once you’re signed into your account on the web. It has stayed the same feature wise for many years, it’s unsurprising to see Google explore other ways it can monetize the feature, and offer new capabilities to users to track their devices.
string name="mdm_find_device_network_description">Allows your phone to help locate your and other people’s devices. string name="mdm_find_device_network_title">Find My Device network
The strings defines the updated feature that “Allows your phone to help locate your and other people’s devices”. The “Find My Device network” will likely rely on all devices connected to the Google Play Services to offer a more accurate and precise location. This could help when recovering stolen and lost devices.
There are more than 3 billion Android devices out there, so even if only a small percentage could take advantage of the new functionality, it could mean that the service might just be a lot more reliable than Apple’s Find My. That’s not to say Apple’s service would be bad, but the Android alternative might just be more precise, or offer other functionality that can’t be found in other tracking services’ apps.
As always, app teardowns don’t necessarily confirm any changes that might be coming to the Google Play Services, it does however give us an idea on what Google might be working on at this time, and what their plans might be in the future.