Google is giving iPhone users (as well as Android users) another way to find their misplaced devices -- by searching the Web for it.
Soon, when iPhone or Android users enter "I lost my phone" at Google.com, the search engine will respond with options that will allow them to ring the device, or locate it on a map. Right now, users can already get access to that functionality through Google's My Account feature, which serves as the nexus for people to understand and access the information connected to their Google account.
Unlike Apple's Find my iPhone and some third-party "lost Android" software, Google's phone-location feature can't lock an iPhone or remotely erase it. Still, it may be a useful feature for someone who have misplaced his phone and just wants to figure out where it is.
People can also use the feature to prevent the device from accessing their Google account, meaning a thief couldn't get access to private information.
The new service is an obvious win for Android users, who currently have no consistent way to find lost devices because there is no single method standard to Android. Google's motivation for iOS users is less clear, beyond providing a mother reason to keep using Google's search engine rather than Bing or DuckDuckGo.
Perhaps it's competitive move to try and draw people away from using Apple's tools and make them more comfortable with using Google services. That, in turn, could make iPhone users more likely to switch to Android in the future -- today, iOS users very rarely leave the platform once they adopt it.