Apple’s AirTag is said to have serious competition

Will the AirTag be dethroned soon?  (Image: Mark Chan Unsplash)

Will the AirTag be dethroned soon? (Image: Mark Chan / Unsplash)

Google may be planning to launch its own Bluetooth tracker system at Google IO 2023 called Finder Network to introduce (via 9to5Google). Similar to Apple’s “Find My” network, Google’s Finder network is designed to track down lost or stolen items, even when they’re offline.

Rumors suggest that the system will not only support Google’s own Bluetooth trackers, but also third-party trackers like Pebblebee, Eufy and Chipolo.

It is also suspected that there will soon be a competitor for Apple’s AirTags, the Nest tile tracker.

This is how the Finder Network for Android is supposed to work

Android users can rejoice that there will likely be a wide range of Bluetooth trackers soon, which should be compatible with the operating system’s fast pair standard.

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With more than three billion Android devices worldwide the finder network would have enormous potential. The network is expected to work similarly to Apple’s Find My network, which anonymously accesses other Apple users’ Bluetooth connections to track lost items.

Apple and Google against stalking

Apple and Google are working together on an industry specification to stop stalking by Bluetooth tracking devices.

In theory, this should reduce stalking concerns by reducing the automatic detection of pursuers being brought to more phones. However, the new industry standard will only be end of 2023 expected.

This suggests that Google will soon unveil its tracker network. The Google I/O event on May 10th would be the perfect opportunity to do so. Here’s what you can expect there:

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However, the company still has a few privacy hurdles to overcome before it can unveil its Nest tracker to the world.

If Google can address these concerns, the Nest Tile tracker and Finder Network has tremendous potential. The existence of billions of Android devices provides a huge foundation for the creation of the largest anonymous lost item locator network we have seen to date.

It might even outperform Apple’s AirTags and Find My network.

What do I need for this?

To take full advantage of the new Android-based trackers, you’ll likely need a relatively recent Android device with ultra-wideband (UWB) connectivity like this Google Pixel 7 Pro oder Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

UWB is a short-range wireless protocol that allows phones to pinpoint the exact location of connected devices with much greater accuracy than Bluetooth. While non-UWB phones can work with the new Android trackers, they cannot take full advantage of location accuracy.

What do you think of Google’s AirTag competitor? What do you think of the cooperation between Apple and Google? Do you use Air or SmartTags? If yes, for what?

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