Hey Google, find my Android phone

New software coming this month will help users locate lost or stolen phones

An example screenshot of a Android phone locator coming later in August, published by Google on Friday

An example screenshot of a Android phone locator coming later in August, published by Google on Friday

Google is bringing a "find my phone" feature to Android later this month.

The feature will be included in the new "Android Device Manager" that is launching sometime in August, the company said in a blog post Friday.

The service will let users force a lost phone to ring at maximum volume, even if it's in silent mode. And if the phone was lost but is still connected to a network, it will show a map of its location in real time.

If the phone is determined to be lost for good or stolen, data on the device can be erased through the same device manager.

The features are similar to those that have been available on Apple devices for sometime. On Android, users have had to turn to third-party apps for the same features.

The software will be compatible with Android 2.2 or above, which means almost all Android devices currently in use. It will come as an app and a companion website.

Google and other major players in the smartphone industry have been under pressure to do more to curb the rising number of smartphone thefts across the U.S. Pushed by law enforcement, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung are being asked to devise systems that would make phones useless if they are stolen, reducing the incentive to steal a phone.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said two weeks ago that Google and Microsoft weren't doing enough to respond to his call for action. The location and data deletion functions announced by Google Friday won't be enough to satisfy Gascón's request that phones be "bricked" -- made useless so they cannot be used again -- in the event they are stolen.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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