After a considerable wait, Google has finally released its version of Find my iPhone application (app). A relief for the absent-minded of us, the Android Device Manager (AMD) helps locate and track down your smartphone or tablet for those who persist in misplacing handsets at restaurants and public transportation.
Google announced the release Friday, Aug. 2, on its Android Blog, but most users will have to wait until the end of the month.
Only a few phones carry it currently, so to check out if you’re one of the chosen few, open the settings and look for “device administrators” under the “security section.” Open it up and see if Android Device Manager is there.
If your phone doesn’t show the app there is no need to worry as the Web interface and the Android manager apps are not completely setup yet by Google. So, even if you have the app, you won’t be able to avail of its features.
The service will be available in all devices running Android versions 2.2 (Froyo) and higher. You need to be logged into your Google account and the service will not function if the device has been reset. The features of the ADM app currently include:
1) Locating the smartphone in real time
2) If it’s somewhere near, the app can make it ring at maximum volume, even if you silenced it
3) Finally, if locating fails or you fear personal data could end up in the wrong hands, there is an option to completely wipe all memory.
For once, Google is not at the forefront of technological development, but merely playing catch-up. Apple and Microsoft have had lost-phone apps for a long time now. Even Sony’s my Xperia and of course Samsung and HTC have apps for this extremely important issue.
Antivirus specialists McAfee, Kaspersky, and Norton have similar tools with more comprehensive security coverage but they charge users. Another popular and already existing app is called Where’s my Droid.
The final verdict: It’s late, but very useful nevertheless considering Android’s dominant market share and the increase in smartphone and identity thefts.
An even better feature would have been the remote-photo-taking option to make some photos of the person who stole the device, but Google didn’t include it in the first version.
Apple’s Find my iPhone also has another feature, which lets you remotely lock the device. This proves very handy if you know the location of the phone, so you can be sure your data will be safe until you get to it. Another feature for Google to work on.
Naveen Athrappully is a contributor to the Epoch Times.