The Google Play store is full of third-party apps that will let you find a lost or stolen phone. Until now, though, there wasn't an official solution from Google. Well, apparently Larry Page and company decided it was about time, and we'll soon see the fruits of that, in the form of the Android Device Manager.
Set to launch later this month, the Android Device Manager (ADM) will offer a handful of tools to help you track down your prized Galaxy S4, Moto X, or HTC One (or any other Android phone running 2.2 Froyo or above).
What it does
If your phone is lost somewhere at home, wedged inconspicuously between couch cushions perhaps, you can have your phone automatically ring on maximum volume. Why not just call it, you say? Well, that's another option you can do today, but if your phone is silenced or set to ring on low volume, you might not hear it. ADM will turn that ring up to 11, no matter what it's set to.
If the situation is a bit more serious, and your phone has been lost or stolen farther from home, then you'll be able to see its real-time location on a map. If it looks like some unsavory character has taken your phone, you can remotely wipe all your data.
It looks like Android Device Manager will be downloadable from Google Play. Google says that you'll need to be signed in to your Google account to use it, and there will also be an Android app to help you track it down if you lose it.
These are hardly revolutionary new features: iPhones and iPads have done this for ages, and, as we said, there are already third-party services on Android. But it's nice to have an official solution from Mountain View.