It doesn’t happen every day. But if you’re anything like me, you lose your phone in the couch, blankets, bathroom or heap of tech piled atop your coffee table on a semi-regular basis.
At that point, you’ve got a few options. “Hey honey, can you call my phone?” Or you can try one of Google or Apple’s handy “Find my device” tools, if you’ve got a laptop or tablet handy.
But there’s a better, faster way to locate your missing phone. One where you can just say “Find my phone” — you know, with your voice — to start it ringing.
I’m talking about the $50or identically-priced — a pair of always-listening voice assistants that can call your phone on command. Just this past month, Amazon’s Echo gained the ability , and the Google Assistant added the ability to natively dial Android phones using hooks built into the operating system.
In case I’m not being totally clear, here’s just how easy this process is now:
- I literally say “OK Google, find my phone” or “Alexa, find my phone” out loud.
- I say “Yes,” or “Yes, call my phone” at the first prompt.
- My phone rings.
- There is no step four.
With Google Home and an Android phone, it’ll ring loudly even if your phone is set to silent mode.
There are a few caveats, mind you. If my wife wants to find her phone, she’ll need to say “Alexa/OK Google, call 123-456-7890” (insert your phone number there) since you can’t register multiple numbers to a single Amazon or Google profile, last we checked. And if you’re trying to find an iPhone with a Google Home, you may want to.
But find-my-phone already feels like a killer app for these inexpensive voice assistants. I’d buy one for that feature alone, if I hadn’t already bought them toand .
And that makes me wonder if dedicated Bluetooth tracker devices, like theor , have much of a future. Why would I pay $20-$40 for a button that only finds a single object, with a battery I need to replace yearly, when these $50 voice assistants can do so much more? Did Google and Amazon just kill off that entire category?
Perhaps not — because phones aren’t the only things distracted people tend to lose. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a wallet and keys to track down.
CNET Smart Home: We transformed a real house into a test lab for the hottest category in tech.
Smart Home Matrix: Want to know what will work best with your smart home? Start here.