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When we're talking smartphone ecosystems, everyone's quick to compare Google Pixel phones against Apple and its iPhones, but what about their accessories? Apple and Google alike sell plenty of stuff like earbuds and smart speakers, and back in 2021 Apple scored a surprise hit with the introduction of its AirTag trackers. Now a new rumor taps into some fresh evidence to suggest that Google could be planning to launch a very similar tracker of its own.

Wireless trackers are nothing new, and companies like Tile have been developing these kind of accessories for years. Even Samsung got in on the action with its own SmartTags. But like we've seen so, so many times before, it took Apple getting involved before anyone really started paying attention.

Earlier today, Android expert Mishaal Rahman shared some of his latest findings, as Google's Fast Pair prepares to add support for a new "locator tag" product type. Existing evidence had already pointed to work on a distributed tracking network similar to what Apple employs for AirTags, which may arrive with "Finder Network" branding. With all this on the table, developer and leaker Kuba Wojciechowski played the final card: Grogu.

An AirTag attached to a zipper.
Source:  Daniel Romero

According to Wojciechowski, Google's Nest team has been working on a device codenamed "grogu," "groguaudio," or "GR10," which would support both BLE and the very tracker-friendly UWB. It would feature a small internal speaker (likely just to chime alerts) and be produced in a variety of colors, but for the moment that's all we've heard about the hardware itself.

As for what Google might be planning to do with it, we know even less, but the prevailing sentiment seems to suggest that while we might get confirmation of Grogu's existence sometime in the first half of the year, release plans might be more likely to coincide with the Pixel 8 than anything Google's planning for I/O.

Considering the privacy nightmare that AirTags ended up being for Apple, maybe taking a little extra time to think through some of those possible scenarios and proactively develop protective measures might be a smart move for Google, after all.