Samsung SmartThings update helps prevent unwanted tag-based tracking

It can spot unknown SmartTags that move along with you.


Samsung has unveiled an update to its SmartThings platform that includes Bixby voice control and a clever new feature that can detect if someone is tracking your location. Called "Unknown Tag Search," it can spot any unknown SmartTags that might be moving along with you or located in your general vicinity. That could mean that someone has slipped one into your bag, pocket or vehicle as a nefarious way to keep tabs on your position.

Like Tile and other trackers, Samsung's SmartTags let you pinpoint lost devices using short-range Bluetooth and UWB signals, so you have to be near the tag to track it in real time. However, tags not close to you can still be located by other Samsung devices in range, which can anonymously ping the SmartThings network and notify you. If someone slipped their own tag on you, that could present a security risk — but the new SmartThings feature now shuts that down.

The other major update is Bixby control that allows users to find their SmartTags using voice commands. You'll be able to say things like "Hi Bixby, where is my bike" or other object with a SmartTag attached, and Bixby will share the object's location.

While announcing the new features, Samsung also revealed that its SmartThings Find network now has 70 million registered devices, making it one of the fastest-growing services in that category. That's not bad considering that it only launched in January along with the Galaxy S21 series. There's also room to grow with over 700 million Galaxy devices that can now connect, the company noted.