Google unveils Android Device Manager, its own version of Find My iPhone

Android Device Manager (teaser 001)

Google has just filled another missing link in its Android software by introducing a feature which allows users to find their misplaced or stolen device on a world map, wipe its contents remotely, send alerts and more. If the announcement sounds a lot like Apple’s Find My iPhone app, you’re right, it does – though you’d be hard-pressed to argue against giving Android users the ability to track down their precious gear.

Called Android Device Manager, in true Google fashion it’s a web-based tool that works much like the Find My iPhone iOS app + iCloud web interface combo from Apple…

According to a post over at the official Android blog, the new Android Device Manager will become available later this month for gadgets running Android 2.2 and above.

Another post explains the feature can locate, ring and wipe a misplaced device.

Have you ever lost your phone in between the couch cushions or left it in a restaurant?

Later this month, you will be able to use a new service called Android Device Manager, which can quickly ring your phone at maximum volume so you can find it (even if it’s been silenced), or locate it on a map, in real time, using Android Device Manager.

Users will need to be signed into their Google Account to use Android Device Manager.

In addition to the web interface, there will also be a downloadable Android app to “allow you to easily find and manage your devices”.

Back in April, major U.S. carriers banded together and joined forces with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create a joint database that would keep track of stolen handsets and those reported as lost.

Because of its visibility, Apple often receives (un)joust criticism for supposedly not doing enough to prevent device thefts, this in spite of being the first major manufacturer to introduce a comprehensive anti-theft service in the form of Find My iPhone.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone has a similar feature, too.

Activation Lock (iPhone screenshot 001)

Lately, the government’s been increasingly calling out Apple, Google and other gadget makers, demanding they implement advanced theft-deterrent measures. The iPhone maker has responded with a new iOS 7 feature called Activation Lock.

Activation Lock renders stolen devices useless by preventing activation on a wireless carrier, even after a thief has disabled the Find My iPhone feature or wiped the phone.

Early impressions appear to be encouraging, with San Francisco’s District Attorney calling Activation Lock a “clear improvement.” Prosecutors, however, remain cautiously optimistic about Activation Lock in iOS 7 being able to curb urban iPhone theft.

For example, San Francisco’s district attorney has called upon security experts from the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center to try and bypass the latest security measures implemented on both Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S4.