Last week Google released the Android Device Manager, which allows you to remotely track your Android phone or tablet from your Google account. Before the Android Device Manager, if you lost your Android phone or had it stolen you were pretty much out of luck.
Currently the Device Manager has five main functions that let you remotely:
- Locate the device
- Lock the device
- Erase all data from the device
- Ring the device
- Rename the device
When locating your device, accuracy is dependent on whether your WiFi and GPS are turned on. If you like to turn those two features off to conserve battery life, Google can only determine the location of the device to an accuracy of about a radius of a mile. With WiFi and GPS turned on, I was able to locate my phone (in my pocket) to an accuracy of about 20 feet.
If you need to locate your phone lost in your own house and need pinpoint accuracy, you can use the ring function that will ring your device with its standard ringtone for five minutes at its highest volume until you press the power button, which should be enough for you to find your phone buried under the cushion of your couch.
You can also remotely lock the phone and erase the contents of your drive if you have factory reset turned on. I wasn't brave enough to test this feature.
iOS, Windows Phone, and even third-party Android apps have already incorporated this functionality.