Google Brings its Emergency Location Service to Android in the U.S.

Posted on September 20, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 1 Comment

Google announced this week that it has expanded the availability of its Emergency Location Service (ELS) for Android to the United States.

“More than 80 percent of emergency calls come from mobile phones, but locating these phones can be challenging as traditional emergency location technologies can fail indoors or have a radius that’s too big to be useful,” Android product manager Jen Chai writes in a new post to the official Google Android blog. “ELS provides a faster, more accurate location to emergency communications centers when an Android user places an emergency call, helping save lives by shortening emergency response times.”

Google first introduced ELS in 2016 but it was initially only available in the U.K. and Estonia because the firm must collaborate with local mobile network operators and emergency services for it to work. Since then, the firm has expanded the availability of ELS to 12 more countries.

And today, it’s available in the United States, albeit it only via T-Mobile so far. It requires Android 4.0 or higher, so it works with over 99 percent of the Android devices currently in use. And it doesn’t require a separate app or any configuration: “Your location is computed on the device and delivered directly to emergency providers, without passing through Google servers, and only when you explicitly call an emergency number,” Google explains.

Google says it will expand ELS to more countries and, within the U.S., to more carriers quickly.

 

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