How Tile is turning us into silent do-gooders

By Oliver Smith 9 August 2017

A magical little bluetooth gadget.

Every day 2m people around the world lose something – their keys, smartphone, bag – and use a little bluetooth gadget called Tile to quickly find them.

But they’re not only finding their own bits and bobs, without realising millions of people have been turned into silent do-gooders, also helping their fellow Tile owners to track down lost possessions, wherever they might be.

“It’s like a good neighbourly community, even if most people don’t even realise they’re helping each other,” Tile’s EMEA sales director Peter Groom told The Memo.

Friendly neighbours

The way Tile works is simple, you attach the little widget to something important, like your purse or wallet, and you can ‘ring’ it from an app on your smartphone.

Where things get magical is that every Tile user is also quietly keeping an eye out for other Tiles, and their smartphones are report back to Tile HQ where every Tile is.

So, if you leave your bag/Tile in a coffee shop, your phone might not be able to detect where the Tile was left, but another Tile user might walk past and you’ll get a little ping to say where the bag is.

And, if you help someone find a Tile that’s been marked as lost, you’ll even get a delightful little notification to let you know you’ve helped someone.

A modern day do-gooder

It’s just one of a number of services we’ve seen in recent months which are encouraging people to help each other out.

Trainline’s BusyBot encourages you to let your fellow passengers know how busy the train carriage is, while Waze lets drivers report traffic or accidents which could impact others.

“We don’t just want [Tile] to be that easy way to help you find stuff around the house, we want to help people find things around the world,” says Groom.

Today that mission is going to the next level.

Tile’s latest gadget, the Tile Pro (£30), has double the bluetooth range of its current trackers, essentially doubling the chances that another Tile user’s smartphone will help you find your keys if you lose them. Unfortunately Tile still doesn’t have a user-replaceable battery, so you’ll have to pick up a new one each year (Tile do offer a 40% discount for replacements).

Plus you don’t even need to buy a Tile to start helping, just download the Tile app and you’ll quietly start helping people find their stuff today.

You might even get a delightful little notification to let you know you’ve helped someone in need.