The new service might be accompanied by a companion app named “Spot”
Google now allows Android users to monitor missing devices as long as they are connected to the Internet and linked to the same Google account, but that feature might be expanded shortly to build the world’s largest crowdsourced network for locating other devices. This is anticipated to function similarly to Apple’s Find My Network, with Android devices broadcasting Bluetooth signals even when they are offline so that neighbouring Android devices may relay their position 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 dug around inside the APK package for the latest version of the Google Play Services app in the beta channel and discovered two strings that appear to indicate the development of a “Find My Device Network” service called “Spot” which “allows your phone to help locate your and other people’s devices.”
At this moment, it’s unclear whether this is a feature that will launch with Android 12, but a crowdsourced network of Android smartphones seems a no-brainer, given that there are an estimated three billion of them in use worldwide. Outside of the United States, Android is also much more popular than iOS, so at least in theory it could lead to better chances of finding lost devices or items for Android users.