I've seen the news story a few weeks ago that Google has finally implemented a feature similar to Apple's Find My iPhone.

The weird thing is that Google says that somehow magically all old devices with old firmware can now be found, which were released months and years prior to the announcement of the feature.

How does that work?


It's not hardware or even firmware.

It's part-and-parcel of Google Play Services, which is what Google is using to try to free Android users from the tyranny of OEMs and mobile carriers which do not provide timely OS updates (if at all).

It's not quite an app, although it installs like one. It's a framework upon which other apps and services can be built.

Since Google Play Services is needed by so many of Google's apps (plus others, such as Twitter) if you've updated any of your apps in the last six months or so you've probably already got it.

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  • So, are you claiming that this is done through the Google Play app? Or is there a separate app, specifically called Google Play Services? – cnst Jan 23 '14 at 2:17
  • If memory serves, it's part of Google Play. I'm not seeing an app in the Play Store, but there is a separate entry for it in Settings > Apps. – ale Jan 23 '14 at 2:23
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    Here it is on the play store: play.google.com/store/apps/… HOWEVER, it auto installs on most devices, can change its own permissions and it can add functionality like Android Device Manager, which was auto added to many devices. E.g. it just turned up one day on the Galaxy S4 in Device > Administrator. Play servcies is needed and uninstalling it will result in google apps failing / not working correctly. Here's more info: developer.android.com/google/play-services/index.html?hl=en – RossC Jan 24 '14 at 12:12

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