Google announced this week that it will update its Phone app for Android to automate emergency calls in the United States.
“A quick, informative conversation with an operator during an emergency call is critical, but in some cases, people are unable to verbally communicate, whether they’re injured, in a dangerous situation or have a speech impairment,” Google’s Paul Dunlop explains. “Soon, you’ll be able to share information about the assistance you require, along with your location, to the emergency operator without speaking.”
This capability will be U.S.-only at first, and it will become available in Google’s Phone app on Pixel and a select but unidentified list of other Android phones. Google says that it will provide “Medical,” “Fire” and “Police” buttons during an emergency call to 911 that will convey the type of emergency to the operator. The information is stored on the device, so it will work even if you don’t have a data connection.
“Your location, which comes from your phone’s GPS, is often already shared with the operator when you make a 911 call,” Dunlop continues. “This new feature provides similar location information through the automated voice service, along with the caller’s plus code, which is another reliable way to help emergency services accurately locate them. Like the rest of the content shared with the operator using this feature, your location stays between them and emergency services.”
Google says the new service will roll out in the coming months, starting with Pixel phones.