Google’s New Simplified Find my phone service
Google has just introduced a simplified way to Find your Android phone. This was announced via a Google Plus post by Google. This new service works like this, you open google.com, type find my phone and Google’s first search result will be a map of where your phone is currently located. This is assuming you have an Android device/phone and you are logged into using your Google account.
This is a brilliant and simple to use feature and locates your phone to the nearest few metres even if your phone’s GPS is turned off. However, as a security precaution, before you are actually shown the location of the phone and the ability to ring the phone, you need to login into your account to verify it really is you.
For someone who had played with the Android Device Manager service before, this really is the same thing, except that the way you access you phone has been simplified this time via search. For beginners though, this is a good thing and will allow one to find out where they left their phone, in the toilet, or forgotten in the bar or forgotten somewhere in the car between the seats and so on.
For this service to work properly, the phone has to have an internet connection working. If the data is switched off and the phone is not on WIFI, then you still have to find your phone the old fashioned way, of going back through all the places you went.
However a side-note for people who have enabled two-factor authentication, this will not work. Reason being when you search for find my phone it expects you to login to your Google Account just to verify its you (and not someone checking where you are). With two factor authentication it expects you to have your phone with you to either text you a code or get a code from the Authenticator app. Which you wont be able to do because, well, you cant find your phone.
Naturally this works when you have just misplaced your phone and not a case of someone stealing the phone because the first thing a clever thief would do is disable internet, then factory reset the phone. This then renders the phone “unfindable”
So to Google I say thank you, but in future we expect this service to improve such that a stolen phone with Android no-matter what you do is always recoverable, almost like the way the IPhone iCloud account system was supposed to work (it never works because the Indian/Pakistani guys in the phone shops always remove the ICloud Account restrictions)