Google teases an Apple-like Find My network for Android in latest Play System update

Google could supercharge its existing Find My Device network


Thanks to Apple’s excellent Find My network, you can track any lost or stolen iPhone, iPad, Mac, or AirTag even when they are not in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth range and powered off. Google was spotted working on a similar Find My Device network in 2021, but there was not much development on this front since then. The updated December 2022 Play system update release notes hint at the arrival of the long overdue Find My Device network that could make it possible to track lost or stolen Android devices even without an internet connection.

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In the revised December 2022 change log, Google notes that Find My Device uses a new “privacy centric framework” and supports sending encrypted last-known-location reports. This could hint at the Find My Device network soon rolling out for all Android devices, enabling them to act as beacons for lost or misplaced devices.

The initial December Play System update introduced support for adding driver licenses in Google Wallet in select US states. The new release notes highlight additional features that are rolling out to Android phones. This includes automatic app archiving and Digital Car Key support on Xiaomi phones.

Announced in March 2022, app archiving allows you to uninstall an app from your phone to free up space, but the app data is saved locally. This ensures that when the app is reinstalled, you will get the same experience before archiving it. App archiving started rolling out in late November with Google Play Store v33.4. Now, Google is further enhancing the feature by automatically archiving apps when storage space is running low on your phone.

This is a welcome addition for low-end and budget Android devices with limited internal storage. App archiving will automatically take care of the low storage space in the background without hampering the user experience. The feature is rolling out as a part of Google Play Store v33.5.

The latest Google Play Services build also enables Digital Car key support on Xiaomi phones. So far, the feature has been limited to select Samsung and Pixel phones. Additionally, Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 2 users will now be able to use the Google Wallet app to manage the payment cards linked to their wearable.

Lastly, Google is beefing up ID verification and will check the quality of the ID images uploaded.

All the above improvements are a part of Google Play Services v50.22 and Google Play Store v33.5. The former is being released today (December 15), while the latest Play Store build started rolling out on December 12.

Thanks: Mishaal Rahman

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