Samsung took on Tile last year when it introduced the SmartThings Find service to help you locate your missing Galaxy device even if it's offline using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and UWB (Ultra-Wideband) technologies. The company promised then that it would expand the service's tracking capabilities with a physical tracker so you can find lost items other than a Galaxy device, and it did launch the SmartTag tracker earlier this year alongside the Galaxy S21.
Next week, Samsung will roll out an update to the SmartThings ecosystem, including two new capabilities. First, you will be able to search for Galaxy SmartTags hands-free using Bixby. Using your voice, you can ask the digital assistant to find a nearby object with a SmartTag attached to it by calling out the tracker's nickname. When it does, it will ring that SmartTag. Note that this works only on Galaxy smartphones running Android 8.1 or higher.
Another important update is designed to prevent anyone from tracking your location. It's called Unknown Tag Search and it will check for SmartTags nearby that don't belong to you.
Of course, this tracking system may also raise some privacy concerns and Samsung reiterates that it encrypts all SmartThings Find user data. The ecosystem is also designed to protect your information through a random ID that changes every 15 minutes. As for the SmartTag’s location, Samsung vows not to reveal it to anyone, except for the owner of the tracker.
Finally, the South Korean tech giant touted the SmartThings Find's expansion. There are now over 70 million “helper” devices in this ecosystem, although they're still a fraction of the 700 million Galaxy users that are eligible to join.