Google’s Fast Pair feature is getting an update in Android Q to help users find lost devices and manage Bluetooth settings easier.
Fast Pair, short for Google Fast Pair Service (GFPS), launched alongside the Pixel Buds and Pixel 2 in 2017 to improve the first-time pairing of smartphones with Bluetooth accessories. Since then, more manufacturers have adopted Fast Pair, and Google added support for syncing saved Bluetooth accessories across Android devices sharing a Google account.
Now, GFPS is getting a ‘Find My Accessories’ feature. It’ll work with all Bluetooth devices that support Fast Pair and hooks into Google’s Find My Device app. The feature displays where an accessory was last disconnected on a map in the Find My Device app. Further, it’ll estimate the range based on connection quality, as well as let you unpair the accessory or have it play a tone that gets progressively louder.
With true wireless earbuds growing in popularity, this kind of tracking feature is certainly welcome. It’s worth noting that Google isn’t the only one bringing it to the masses. Tile recently partnered with Qualcomm and other Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) chip manufacturers to include its ‘finding technology‘ into Bluetooth accessories.
While Tile and Google both offer a service to help you find a lost item, Tile’s works a little different. It uses all Tile-enabled Bluetooth devices to form a sort of heat-map to help people find things, as long as it’s in range of another Tile-enabled Bluetooth device. Google’s solution, however, appears to use your smartphone’s GPS and location services to determine where it disconnected from a Bluetooth device to help you find it again.
Apple is also reportedly looking into making a Tile-like item tracker to help people find missing AirPods.
Revamped Bluetooth settings
Google also showed off a revamped Bluetooth settings menu coming to Android Q. It isn’t live in the Developer Preview yet, but they may come in a future beta.
To start, some of the new features will address some long-standing issues with using true wireless earbuds. The latest Bluetooth settings will show a notification when you open the charging case of supported earbuds. That notification will show the battery levels of both earbuds as well as the case itself. Users will also be able to view this information in the Bluetooth menu.
The new settings page will also become the central management hub for all Bluetooth devices, including options for forgetting an accessory, managing Assistant and notification settings, changing touch controls, controlling audio tuning and toggling in-ear detection.
However, the search giant won’t provide a standardized set of options yet. Instead, Google would rather have manufacturers offer their own companion apps and use the Slices API to deliver actionable toggles to the Bluetooth settings page.
Finally, Google is working with manufacturers to support additional Bluetooth profiles, as well as BLE-only devices with Fast Pair. As such, users should expect to see more GFPS-enabled accessories this year.
Source: XDA Developers