News I tested Google's Find My Device network with the latest trackers, and I was left disappointed

tneedell

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Nov 3, 2012
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I never had to download or use any 3rd pay app. I just pressed the button on my Chipolo tag and my Pixel asked to connect the tag to Google's Find My Device network. Like, less than 5 seconds total after I took it out of the box, it was connected.

Also, it's going to be a slow rollout, I'd be curious in a month or two how it performs. Not surprised days after a staggered rollout begins that it's not robust yet.
 

jeffkey

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Oct 29, 2011
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For what it's worth, here is my brief experience with Pebblebee Clip trackers and the Find My Device network. I've only had them for a few days. This is more a comment about the network than the Pebblebee trackers. I'm guessing that results would be similar with Chipolo trackers, though they have a smaller range.

In moderate-traffic areas they are detected. I left one in the lobby of our building on a college campus for about six hours and reported it lost in the app. I got notifications twice a couple hours apart. As a second test, I left one in my car in the Costco parking lot while we were shopping, and did the same while in Starbucks somewhere else. I turned my phone's Bluetooth off so it wouldn't see the trackers. It was detected once in each location. So far, so good.

However, leaving a tracker in my car all day long while it was parked on a side street in a residential area resulted in no detections. I tried this in two different locations on two days.

So the network does work in moderate- or high-traffic areas. But in low-traffic areas, the results are disappointing. We expected this, of course, given Google's decision requiring an aggregation of phones to detect a tracker before it can be reported as located.

There must be other ways to address privacy concerns. The network already reports unknown trackers that are separated from their owners and are moving with you. How about allowing for safe zones where your phone will not report the location of trackers that aren't tied to your account? That would allow you to locate your own trackers in the house, for example, but not report the location of a tracker that somebody put in the bushes to monitor when you're home.
 
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SnowyRVulpix

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May 11, 2024
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So, what can be done to fix this? As controversial as it might sound, Google needs to find a way to make more Android users contribute to its crowdsourcing network if its Find My Device network is going to reach its full potential. If people choose not to be part of the network, it will fail as an item-finding network by design. And with that in mind, there will be no point in upgrading your Bluetooth trackers to the latest variants either. Since contributions to the crowdfunded Find My Device network are anonymous anyway, why give people so many chances to opt out of its more useful feature?
I don't think forcing users into the network is a good idea.

For me, it's a security concern. Connecting to random devices all over the place just screams security issue to me. And with the recent Windows wifi vulnerability coming to light, security is on my mind.
 

KazuyaDarklight

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Jul 4, 2024
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Sounds like the author configured their tags wrong since they mention the brand apps. Tags are compatible with the brand app OR the find my network and this is mutually exclusive. If they set the tags up using the Pebblebees app then they were using the Pebblebee network NOT the Android Find My network. To use the Find My network the tag must be setup with Google's official Find My Device app.
 

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