If you’ve ever been in the position of trying to decide on your next smartphone, you’ve more than likely come across the question ‘iOS or Android?’ If you’re seeing questions like that you might have also seen the word ‘ecosystem’ thrown around. In this case, that would likely refer to Apple’s firm hold on iOS, all the devices that run that operating system and how they are all interconnected.
On this massive crowdsourced network, most Apple devices, like an iPhone or MacBook, all chat with each other to provide location data –about themselves and the devices around them — to the greater network. This interconnectivity is what allows Apple’s AirTags to be so effective. And what makes them so scary.
Apple is only able to do this thanks to the vast number of their devices out in the wild. Only Google’s Android comes close to this number, and with almost every Android device running the Google Play Services app, they might be looking to create their own kind of crowdsourced network.
According to XDA-Developers, the new beta version of the Google Play Services app contains text buried deep within that points to Google working on something similar. The wizards discovered the line “Allows your phone to help locate your and other people’s devices” after they decoded the update.
This line seems to suggest that Google wants to use their Play Services app to create a network like Apple’s. The app is but one key component that makes up the larger Google Mobile Services pre-installed on pretty much every Android device sold outside of China.
Can Google find a solution?
Google already has a Find My Device app but for that to work, you need to be logged into your account. If this new Find My Device network ever goes live then that might not need to be the case.
While it does seem like a good thing — to be able to find your stolen devices after thieves have relieved you of them — it is unclear if this is going to be an opt-in scenario or if we’ll have any choice at all.