After a year-long delay, Google has finally turned on the Android Find My Device network. This network, which is currently limited to Google Play Services beta testers, provides offline device tracking for smartphones, tablets, and small AirTag-like trackers.

The Android Find My Device network was first announced at I/O 2023. It’s essentially the Android equivalent of Apple’s Find My network—participating devices use a low-power Bluetooth signal to detect, long, and report the locations of other devices. If you disable mobile connectivity on your smartphone and accidentally leave it on a bus, for example, you’ll still be able to track its location based on anonymized, automatic reporting from other Android devices.

Android’s dedicated Find My Device network is also a boon to third-party, AirTags-like tracking devices. In the past, companies like Tile had to build custom tracking networks that were relatively small and unreliable. But now, these brands can piggyback off Android’s network, which consists of far more users.

Google initially planned to launch its Find My Device network in the summer of 2023. But the company chose to delay this launch while it worked with Apple to develop new anti-stalking measures. These anti-stalking technologies recently appeared in Apple’s new iOS 17.5 beta and will eventually roll out to all iPhone users.

Now, Google has quietly turned on its Find My Device network. As AssembleDebug reports, this feature is automatically enabled and isn’t hidden behind any flags. However, it requires the Google Play Services beta, so it isn’t available to the average user. This appears to be a staggered, server-side rollout. It isn’t specific to any version of the Google Play Services beta, and it may take a few days to reach all eligible beta testers.

If I had to guess, Google will probably reintroduce Find My Device at I/O 2024 and launch the feature with Android 15. If we’re lucky, this launch will be accompanied by a wave of compatible AirTag-like tracking devices. Some manufacturers, including Chipolo, jumped the gun in 2023 and already sell Find My Device-enabled trackers.

Google may also use the Find My Device launch to explain its new anti-stalking technology. In any case, we’re sure to hear a lot about Bluetooth trackers and stalking over the next year.

To reiterate, the Android Find My Device network is currently limited to Play Services beta testers. This feature will probably launch alongside Android 15, though it may be held up by the iOS 17.5 release schedule. Things are still up in the air, but we’re clearly closing in on a Find My Device launch.

Source: AssembleDebug via Android Police