Google today announced on its Official Android Blog that it’s launching a brand new tool called ‘Android Device Manager’ that will let users easily locate and remotely wipe misplaced or stolen devices. Anyone familiar with the Find My iPhone feature that Apple has made available to iOS device users will already be quite familiar with how the software works.
Much like Apple’s service, Android Device Manager will let users locate their device on a Map in real-time, as well as remotely wipe the device of all data if happens to get into the wrong hands. You’ll also be able to make your device ring at maximum volume if you happen to misplace it in a nearby location.
If you ended up dropping your phone between those couch cushions, Android Device Manager lets you quickly ring your phone at maximum volume so you can find it, even it’s been silenced. And in the event that your phone or tablet is out of earshot (say, at that restaurant you left it at last night), you can locate it on a map in real time
Google’s announcement comes at a time when government officials are pressuring Apple, Google, and other smartphone manufacturers to implement new theft deterrent features. While Google’s new tool would be one step in the right direction, it doesn’t appear to go beyond what Apple has already had in place since back in 2010.
Recently, Apple announced a new Activation Lock feature that requires an Apple ID and password to reactivate a stolen phone after being remotely erased/wiped by the owner through the Apple Find my iPhone feature. The login information will also now be required to turn off Find My iPhone. If a user’s device is stolen, wiping the device clean will essentially leave the thief with a device that is inoperable without the user’s Apple ID and password. It doesn’t appear that Google’s new tool includes a similar feature.
Google said the new Android Device Manager service will available later this month for devices running Android 2.2 and up, and an Android app will also be available to help users manage their devices.