Tile launched an updated integration with Google Assistant a few months ago. At that time, Tile announced that Google Nest hardware would be able to find Tile trackers via their own Bluetooth connection and hinted at deeper integration with Google’s own hardware.
It seems that functionality has been quietly enabled, possibly ahead of a more formal announcement. Following the update, Tile is now a first party Home Automation partner with the Google Assistant ecosystem meaning that you no longer need to invoke Tile to use the service. previously you needed to say “Ok Google, ask Tile to find Duncan’s Keys” for example. Now you only need to say “Ok Google, find Duncan’s keys”.
To add ‘Tile’ to Google Assistant simply navigate in the Home app to add a new device and select Tile from the list of partners, you’ll be promoted as normal to authenticate your account and you’ll be away.
With Tile and Google now partnering on hardware integration for locating devices you can also locate a device even if your phone isn’t near it. Thanks to the Bluetooth chip in Google Nest hardware, those devices can now act as Tile ‘finders’. Left your Tile tracked headphones at home but aren’t 100% sure? Previously unless you’d left your phone at home too, you weren’t able to check.
Now if you have a Google Nest smart speaker/ display you can simply ask “OK Google, where are my headphones”. Google will poll all devices and locate them for you.
I’ve tested the integration I think it’s much faster than the original implementation. The instant I asked Google to locate my keys they started to ring. The integration also brought a new feature and that’s the “where is my x” request. With this, Assistant on any device will tell you the last location the Tile was seen, and a future update will tell you the time as well.
For those getting excited about a distributed network of Google Nest devices acting as a worldwide finding network, hold your horses. Unfortunately, at least for now, Nest has confirmed that Google Nest devices will only locate Tiles attached to the same account – it won’t go finding other people’s stuff for them.
With Amazon sidewalk being announced last month we hoped Google and Nest might partner to create an Assistant compatible competitor. While the technology is different, if Google and Tile could partner and work out how to do this without running roughshod over people’s privacy, I think it would be an excellent service to both Tile and Google Assistant customers alike.