Google might be working on its own Bluetooth tracker detection software for Android smartphones, according to the latest reports.
Bluetooth trackers like the Tile Mate and Apple AirTag have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years, by using Bluetooth connections, and an army of phones hooked up to the Tile or Apple’s Find My network, these tags can help users find lost objects at home and out in the wider world.
Unfortunately, plenty of bad actors use these same devices to stalk unsuspecting individuals.
Tile and Apple have introduced various safety measures to reduce the risk their devices pose, but there are still issues with the current system. The main problem is that, for Android phone users, the free Tile and Apple Tracer Detect apps don’t offer automatic detection – you have to manually initiate searches on each individual app.
Now it looks like Google is taking matters into its own hands according to a 9To5Google report. The site details lines of code it found in a Google APK that was recently uploaded to the Play Store that references tag detection for devices named Tile tag and ATag (likely referencing AirTags).
The code is still fairly bare-bones right now, but it strongly suggests that Google is working on in-built tracker detection for Android.
It’s not clear if this detection can be set to run automatically – though this should absolutely be an option – but this feature would at least give Android device users a pre-installed one-stop-shop to check if they're being stalked by unknown trackers.
We don't know when this feature will be available, but it could drop fairly soon. There’s a chance that this tracker detection will be available later this year when Android 13 launches, and it might even launch as part of the next Android 13 beta. We’ll have to wait and see what Google announces.
Even though there are early signs that the feature is being developed, there’s no guarantee that it will ever see the light of day.