According to Google, Google may be working on turning Android phones into a hivemind that can find lost devices, much like Apple’s Find My Network Analysis carried out by 9to5Google. A toggle for the feature appeared in a beta from Google Play Services, with code referencing phones’ ability to find other devices, potentially signaling that Android phones might be easier to find soon.
According to Google’s support page, the current Find My Device system can only find phones that are switched on, have a data or WiFi signal, and have location services enabled. At this early stage, it’s unclear which of these limitations the relay networking feature – apparently called Spot – would solve, but if you’re looking for a lost phone, it’s good to have an advantage.
Google has other projects that involve using a network of Android phones – especially its – Earthquake detection function. While the implementation varies, the underlying concept is likely very similar: there are more than 3 billion active Android devices, which represents a huge amount of information, be it accelerometer data or the location of a misplaced phone.
9to5Google found a setting that allows users to turn off the feature so their phone won’t help find other devices. Given the limited information, it’s unclear whether the Find My Device network can find things other than phones, like Apple’s Find My network or Samsung’s Galaxy Find network. And of course, since this is unpacked code from a beta version, these changes may never be released in an actual public version.
Google did not immediately respond to the request for comment on the future feature.