Lost car keys Source: Google Images

With Google largely ignoring South Africa with it’s mobile and home automation products, it’s easy for us to be a bit ignorant of all the work that Google is doing on its Google Assistant-enabled devices to make our lives easier.

At the moment Google Home devices are available via a few online stores. Even then, with a shortage of connected devices to fully leverage the power of Google assistant and the various smart speakers and tablet devices available, it’s probably understandable that South Africans are still pretty lukewarm in their reception for Google and it’s range of connected home offerings.

Google partners with Tile

At the moment, if you were to purchase a Google Home or Google Home Mini there would be a few daily headaches you could solve.

And it may even be worth the price – over and beyond telling your android TV box what to do while the selection of products available online aren’t vast – one application of the speaker did catch my eye.

Tile Tracker is one of those ideas that are so simple that you’ll be amazed that you didn’t think of it and you’ll be annoyed you didn’t know it existed before today.

What is Tile Tracker?

The Tile tracker is basically a Bluetooth transceiver that you can attach to anything that you routinely misplace.

Using the app on your phone, you can see where you last had the item attached to the Tile Tracker; or even send a command to the tracker to “ring” so you can track it down.

The company recently announced they are improving their integration with Google Assistant, which will mean that soon you’ll be able to ask your smart speaker or home hub display where your car keys are or your wallet or pretty much anything else you can attach a Tile to.

The feature will be available later this year, making use of the Tile Tracker’s ‘direct ring’ technology, which will allow voice-enabled devices to “connect directly with and ring lost items, for a faster and more reliable result”.

The neglected SA market

Tile are operating in a very competitive market, and this integration will help set them apart from many of their lower cost rivals who rely entirely on apps.

The integration with common automated home technologies will be a big selling point as Google starts positioning its AI assistant more and more as the default interface in the home.

The Tile solution is not particularly cheap or very easily available in SA, though they appear to be more readily available from Amazon in some cases for a bit less than from local sites if you’re happy to do your shopping with Amazon.