All android phones, if connected, would form an impressive network all over the world. Logically that can’t happen for several reasons related to privacy, but from a technological point of view, it is not much of a problem.
If you have lost your Android phone, other phones can help you find it
One of the solutions they can offer is to find stolen or lost cell phones. Each cell phone has a unique internal identifier so that if a stolen cell phone passes near another cell phone, it could be identified and located without much trouble.
That’s the idea behind Apple’s AirTags, and other devices such as Tiles, which have been on the market for years. AirTags have something different, they use iPhones from all over the world to treat them as a collaborative network, and it seems that Google is also working on the subject.
They talk about it on XDA, where they indicate that there are text strings in the new versions of Google Play Services that make it clear that a network designed for “Find Devices” is in the works.
The idea can be summed up in one sentence: other people’s phones will be able to help find yours.
The current system for finding an android phone is the one shown in this video:
As you can see, the lost mobile has to be connected to the Internet, and the search is performed by Google based on the last detected position. With the new function, it would be possible to find cell phones even if they are disconnected from the Internet, probably using Bluetooth, as Samsung does with its SmartThings Find. Logically, if the lost mobile is turned off or does not have Bluetooth active, it could not be found in this way.
From what is known by analyzing the code, any mobile could find nearby devices, but no details are indicating how this search would be activated. If the person who has lost it activates the system, would all the mobiles in the world be activated in search mode? would they always be activated and attentive to see which mobiles are nearby? It seems something similar to what COVID tracking apps do, where personal information is not disclosed, only the unique ID of the mobile.
Even so, XDA comments that it will be an option that the user can enable or disable, so if we do not want our phone to help others, we can specify it.
We will await official news from Google to give more details.