Google AirTags rival rumored to launch soon — how it may beat Apple's locator tag

(Image credit: Apple)

Since early January, there's been scuttlebutt that Google is working on an AirTag rival that could potentially have Apple shaking in its boots. According to our sister site TechRadar, there's a good chance the search-engine giant may announce "Grogu," Google's internal name for it, at Google I/O 2023. That's next week!

Similar to Apple's AirTag, it's rumored to have several color options and a built-in speaker to help users locate missing items via chimes. It will also reportedly use two technologies: BLU (power-efficient variant of Bluetooth) and UWB (a connectivity option that helps users locate misplaced items more precisely). One limitation, however, is that only relatively recent Android devices (e.g., the Google Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7 Pro, and the Samsung Galaxy S21+ up) support UWB.

Still, there's one aspect that may make Google's locator tags more appealing than Apple's AirTags. A new rumor reveals that Google's FindMy counterpart will support third-party trackers, too.

The 'Finder Network' may support third-party trackers

Google's answer to the FindMy network, the Finder Network, will be much more open than Apple's system. As mentioned at the outset, in addition to supporting its own locater tag, the Finder Network will welcome other companies, too. 9to5Google claims that it spotted documentation that revealed that three companies — Chipolo, eufy and Pebblebee — are already working on making trackers that are compatible with Google's Finder Network.

The Finder Network-compatible products include the following:

  • Chipolo ONE
  • Chipolo CARD
  • eufy Security SmartTrack
  • Pebblebee Card
  • Pebblebee Clip

As it stands now, Android users need a dedicated app to locate misplaced items tracked with Pebblebee, eufy and Chipolo products, but with the Finder Network, you'll quickly find your stuff without a companion app.

It's worth noting that 9to5Google didn't find references to Samsung nor Tile in the documentation, the two most prominent companies in the Android locator tags space, but that doesn't mean that they won't be a part of the Finder Network in the future.

Although Apple's AirTags won't be supported in the Finder Network, there's a good chance that, based on Apple teaming up with Google to thwart stalking, the system will notify Android users if an Apple locator tag is nearby and potentially tracking them.

We expect Google to announce its locator tag next week, but it's expected to launch alongside the next-gen Pixel series later this year.

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Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!