Sometimes when I read about stuff like Google’s My Account, I get the feeling these tech films are just thumping their noses at us. By ‘us’, I mean people living in third world countries. It is not as if you can’t use Google’s My Account account in Nigeria, you can. But poor network can render it almost useless. Those with good network can access it though.
My Account is the portal launched last year by Google which ‘..gives you quick access to controls for safeguarding your data and protecting your privacy on Google. My Account puts privacy and security tools in one place, including long-standing features like Ads Settings and newer ones like the Privacy and Security Checkups. Collectively, these tools make it easy for you to control your privacy and security from any device.”
We in third world countries sorely need something like that. Phone theft is so common here it is easy to buy a stolen phone in the market. But this new feature by Google is not the first of its kind though. Android users can track their stolen phone both through Google search and through the Android Device Manager. But the main innovation with My Account is that even iPhone users can use the service to find out where their missing or stolen phone is.
How to Locate Your Phone Using My Account
For such a very important service, the process is very easy. It is good. End users shouldn’t be bogged down by the long process of setting something up. These can be sometimes discouraging. To use the ‘Find my phone’ feature in My Account, just head to the My Account page where the ‘find your phone’ tap is now prominently displayed. Of corse your phone details must be synced with Google. All you need to do is tap the ‘find your phone’ option. You can make the phone ring. So if you phone is close by, you can now locate it from the ring tone. Alternatively, you can lock the phone. Locking it comes with the option of placing your contact number with a message on the screen. That is for a good Samaritan to get to you if the phone is found. Lastly and more importantly, you can locate the exact position of the phone using the Device Manager.
However, for those using iphones, the process is a bit different. Google’s My Account would redirect you to Apple’s ‘Find My iPhone’ feature in iCloud. If you are familiar with iCloud, you’d know how to navigate your way from there.
Writing about the development in a blog post, the product manager of Google’s account controls,said:
We entrust our phones with some of our most personal data: texts from loved ones, family photos, work emails, bank account information, and more. In the wrong hands, that data could cause trouble. Unfortunately, millions of phones are stolen every year in the U.S. alone, and countless more are lost in taxis, cafes, and couch cushions around the world. But when your phone goes missing, it’s not always easy to figure out where to start, who to call, or how to keep your information safe. Find your phone is a new feature that will help you if your phone is ever lost or stolen. In a few simple steps, you can not only locate your phone, but also lock and call it, secure your account, leave a callback number on the screen, and more. The feature can be used to find lost Android and iOS devices, and soon, you’ll also be able to access it by searching Google for “I lost my phone.”
It is very heartening to see Google taking an active interest in our missing phones. Sometimes providing such services free to customers is what separates the big players from the upstarts. Of course this is just one way to make us stick to Google. It is all part of the larger picture of staying loyal to just one tech firm.