Google’s Find My Device Service Could Allow Offline Tracking of Android Devices: Report

Google’s Find My Device service might be ramped up to allow users to follow their Android or WearOS devices even while they are offline. The present version of the service only allows users to find, lock, sign out, and wipe connected devices that are tied to the same Google account and are online. 

According to a report by Sammobile, the feature was first mentioned in changelog for Google’s System Update for December 2022, and it states, “Find My Device now supports encrypted last-known-location reports for Android devices, using a new privacy-centric framework.“

In its current state, Find My Device is a service that allows users to track Android and Wear OS devices that are connected to the internet. It allows users to remotely lock, sign out of, and remove the Google account from their device, but these features are only available when the device is connected to the internet; Ergo, if a device is remotely wiped, it can no longer be tracked using Find My Device. Additionally, someone else may disable the setting by resetting the device.

Soon Find My Device could be upgraded to allow Android and Wear OS devices to communicate with each other and make it easier to locate lost or stolen devices. And, like Samsung and Apple’s implementation – device-locating service will be end-to-end encrypted, allowing no one except you can see your device’s location.

The report also states that by connecting to nearby Samsung devices through Bluetooth and reporting the position to the user, Samsung’s SmartThings Find can locate a Galaxy device even while it is offline. Although it is not as powerful as Apple’s system, it has over 200 million discover nodes to help consumers locate their devices. Apple also uses a similar implementation to track devices through the Find My app, but it is reportedly even more secure than Samsung’s implementation.

Currently, it is not in the clear as to when users can expect Google to roll out the updated feature but the December 2022 changelog suggests that the update could be in its final stage of development and Google could bundle it with Android 14.

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