After years of relying on third-party vendors and its hardware partners to provide phone tracking features, Google is finally delivering a universal way for Android users to recover their lost or stolen devices, just like Apple. In fact, the two are so similar, one could just consider it Find My Android.
Google calls the feature Android Device Manager, and just like Find My iPhone, the service will allow users to overlay their smartphone’s location on a map, should they need to track it for any reason. Android users will also be able to ring the device to help locate it or, simply wipe the device operating system of any information if it’s not recoverable.
Google says that all users running Android 2.2 or earlier will be able track their devices when the service rolls out sometime this month. Users will need to have a Google Account to use the Find My Android functionality. Google also has plans to introduce an Android Device Manager application along with the service.
Google didn’t not indicate whether users would need to download it’s Android Device Manager application to use the functionality specifically, possibly indicated the service will be seamlessly integrated without the need for the application itself.
Although it may have taken Google a long time to introduce the feature, some Android manufacturers already have their own Find My iPhone-like solutions for their devices. For example, Sony’s Xperia line of devices comes with that functionality built into its Android skin.
There are also third-party tools that enable this functionality, in our How to Find Our Lost Android Phone tutorial, we showed users how to using AndroidLost. Comodo AntiVirus, and Lookout also support this type of functionality in case users might need something to hold them over until Google launches its solution.
Android isn’t the last major mobile operating system maker to bring these types of locations features to their operating system. iOS for iPhone and iPad have had the feature for some time, while Microsoft added Find My Windows Phone to its platform with the release of Windows Phone 7.5.
BlackBerry 10 still relies on application’s in its store to provide this type of functionality.