A few months ago, we reported on Google’s development of an Apple AirTag competitor, codenamed “Grogu”. These innovative “locator tags” may help users find anything they’re attached to, from luggage to personal items, using UWB Bluetooth technology. At this time, we’re thinking these will be released under the Nest branding and ecosystem.
Now, an exclusive report from 91mobiles (per Kuba Wojciechowski) unveils a feature that could pair with these tags, called “Pixel Power-off Finder”. According to the tipster, it may be designed to help you locate your phone even when it’s dead or turned off!
This development was discovered through source code spotted in Android 14 via the Early Access Program, which is given to manufacturers ahead of release. A new “Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL)” was identified, and the code called the line “hardware.google.bluetooth.power_off_finder”. By keeping your Pixel phone’s Bluetooth chip active even when your device is off, “precomputed Finger Network Keys” will apparently communicate with it.
As of now, it’s speculated that this will be a Pixel-exclusive feature, debuting with the Pixel 8 before potentially rolling out to older devices and non-Pixel phones alike once the initial excitement dies down a bit. I imagine that only the owner of the phone will be able to locate their device using this always-on Bluetooth method, and that would be done through Google’s “Find My Device” app or web app.
More details are sure to be officially shared as we approach the reveal of the Pixel 8, and we’ll share more if we happen upon it. In the comments, I’d like to hear your thoughts about such a feature and whether or not you think it’s secure or makes you uneasy about location tracking.