Both Apple and Google have a system that lets users locate lost smartphones, but since Apple controls their ecosystem heavily (to the point where regulators are looking to step in), it has allowed them to create a more refined network that helps users locate their missing Apple devices.
Google in theory should have been able to create a much more robust system given how much location data they have on users, plus the fact that there are way more Android devices out there, and it seems that they could be thinking about it. This is according to an APK teardown of the latest beta of Google’s Play Services where strings have been discovered that reference Google’s potential plans.
One of the strings mentions “Find My Device network” while the other is more descriptive which reads, “Allows your phone to help locate your and other people’s devices.” This actually sounds similar in concept to Apple’s Find My network. For those unfamiliar, Apple’s Find My network relies on nearby Apple devices like iPhones to pick up on signals on devices that have been marked as lost/missing.
It will then use that signal to mark the location, so that when you open Find My iPhone, it will show where on the map where it is. Like we said, since Android is the more predominant platform, in theory Google’s own network has the potential to be more accurate. We’re not sure when Google could launch such a service, but if these strings are accurate, it seems that they are working on something.