All of us have experienced the terrible feeling of losing our phones. You are getting into a cab and place your hand in your pocket to pull out your phone, and you feel the dreaded nothingness. Your heart drops to your stomach. You start to panic, hyperventilate a little, and diligently think back to the last time you had your phone. As you retrace your steps, you are faced with the realization that your phone may be gone forever. It doesn’t help that your phone retails at a price higher than your monthly mortgage. While you may feel all is lost, Google might have given us phone-losers a ray of hope to prevent future aforementioned meltdowns.
Today, in a Google+ post, Google announced that users are now able to search for their phone using the Google search engine. The post stated:
We’ve all been there — you’ve searched under your car seat, tossed around the sofa cushions and you still can’t find your phone. If you know where your computer is, you can now ask Google to find your Android phone from your desktop. If the pesky phone is hiding nearby, Google can ring it for you — or you can see it on the map if you, say, forgot it at the bar. Just make sure you’ve got the latest version of the Google app!
There are a number of phone finding apps on the market today, but Google took it a step further with their innate ability to use the Google search engine to find your cell phone. Simply search “find my phone”, and Google will search for the phone number associated to your Gmail account. For those of us who seem to lose our phones every time we set it down, you can even have Google call your phone to help your search. So, what if your phone is on vibrate or silent? Don’t worry! Google will change the volume on your phone, and will ring your phone for five minutes unless you find it before then.
There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to use this feature. You need a valid Gmail account with your phone number listed on it, you need to have the Google app installed on your phone, and the GPS on your phone needs to be on.
While this new feature seems like a really great idea, and does make finding your phone much easier, there are also possibilities for disaster. Now that I can know the exact location of my phone through a simple Google search, I would be worried about less-savory people taking advantage of this to know exactly where I am. This brings on a whole new level of potential stalking. And now that people can know where you are by simply having the password to your email address, that information could potentially be sold to those interested. Googling and seeing your family at the zoo or on vacation makes for a much better opportunity to break in and steal your sweet new TV. While I am sure this is unlikely to happen to most of us, the possibility is now much more present.
What are your thoughts? Do you think this new feature is worth the security risk? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.