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Google announces tool to track lost Android phones

Google announces tool to track lost Android phones

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Android owners will soon have a way to locate their lost devices. Later this month, anyone with a Google account will be able to locate their Android devices on a map in real time, activate their ringer, and even wipe their contents. The service will work as part of a new Android Device Manager website, which will seemingly be an upgraded version of a tool that's already available for business users.

Remote tools for nearly every Android user

The remote tools will work on all devices running Android 2.2 and up — which, at 98.7 percent of devices, is just about every one of them. Google will also be releasing an Android Device Manager app to ease the process of finding and wiping devices, but it won't need to be installed for the service to work.

For Google, the move is a long time coming. Android has quite notably been missing a tool to let users remotely manage their lost devices, while others like Apple and Microsoft have already implemented such features on their mobile operating systems. Some Android device manufacturers have even tried to fill the gap with services of their own, including HTC — with an effort that has since been shut down — and Sony, with the My Xperia program that it announced earlier this year. Fortunately, the struggles to find a reliable tracking service may soon come to an end — though Google hasn't named a specific date for when the Android Device Manager will roll out to everyone.