Samsung has released a new service called SmartThings Find that can, as the name suggests, help find your lost Samsung devices. The feature located within the SmartThings app uses a variety of technologies like Bluetooth Low Energy and Wi-Fi to locate your device even if it's offline.
Crowdsourced tracking — There already exists a Find My Mobile app that can locate misplaced Galaxy smartphones, but this new service can find just about any Galaxy device, including the Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Buds. When a device goes offline for 30 minutes, it will send out a signal that can be received by other nearby Samsung devices, even if they're not yours. If you report your device lost in the app, any nearby Galaxy smartphone that has opted into helping find misplaced devices can alert a Samsung server that in turn notifies you of its location.
Samsung says that all of this information is encrypted so nobody can see the whereabouts of your devices except you.
Once your device has been located, SmartThings Find can give you mapping directions and the ability to "ring" the device once you're within range. The AR-based Search Nearby function displays color graphics that increase in intensity as you get closer to your device, which sounds pretty fun.
Table stakes — Both Apple and Samsung have large userbases that can be used to help find lost devices. Apple is further rumored to be developing its own tracking device dubbed "AirTags" to compete with tracking device company Tile that would harness the immense network of Apple devices out in the world to help users find misplaced items.
Samsung says that the SmartThings app will support third-party tracking devices early next year, so Tile could integrate its service and offer users the ability to track down objects beyond Galaxy devices. Apple is also introducing this ability in the Find My app starting in iOS 14, though Tile isn't too happy about Apple giving its own Find My app tracking permissions by default and knows AirTags could pose a serious threat to its business if they're ever introduced.
An update with SmartThings Find is rolling out today for all Galaxy devices running Android 8 or later. A banner at the bottom of the SmartThings app will take you to the new feature.