Technology

Google developing AirTag-like location trackers

Google

To counter Apple’s AirTags and Tile trackers, Google is purportedly developing its location monitoring tag, as revealed by the developer and trusted leaker Kuba Wojciechowski. Twitter user Wojciechowski says Google is building its first-party tracker to use with Fast Pair, Google’s mechanism for efficiently pairing nearby Bluetooth devices because he found references indicating Google is working on support for location tags in Fast Pair.

Wojciechowski claims that the Google Nest team is working on a tracking device known variously as “Grogu,” “GR10,” and “Groguaudio” (after the infant Yoda character from The Mandalorian). Even if it doesn’t debut under the Nest name, Wojciechowski speculates that the tracker may come in several colours and feature an in-built speaker to help users find a misplaced gadget by sound, much like an Apple AirTag.

According to Wojciechowski, the “Grogu” trackers may be able to use Bluetooth Low Energy and ultra-wideband (UWB). The Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 7 Pro are Google’s flagship mobile smartphones, and they both offer UWB connectivity, albeit thus far, its use has been limited to applications like Nearby Share. Wojciechowski argues that “even though Google’s tracker most likely has UWB, it’s not a requirement for the “Finder Network” they’re working on — BLE is enough,” even though UWB offers far greater precision than Bluetooth for locating lost items, providing the ability to show both distance estimations and directions to a tag.

Wojciechowski speculates that Google may announce in May 2023 at the Google I/O Developer Conference and that the trackers could be released alongside new Pixel devices at a Google event in the fall.

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