If you're ever stuck in a bad situation and require emergency services, the last thing you want to be doing do is fiddling around with your phone. Whether you're injured, in a burning building, or suffering from a medical condition like a heart attack, quick access to help can be the difference between life and death. Every minute and second counts.
Beyond that, another critical aspect of emergency calls is accurate communication: when a caller cannot speak for whatever reason (perhaps they've been kidnapped, suffered a stroke, or are hiding from intruders), they can be in pretty big trouble.
That's where Google's latest announcement comes in. Soon, Google promises, Pixel smartphone owners will be able to tap one of three buttons within their device's Phone app during an emergency call to automatically and "silently" send a message to a 911 operator (or your country's equivalent, presumably). The buttons are Medical, Fire, and Police.
"You are being contacted by an automated voice service initiated by the caller," the message reads. "The caller may be unable to speak or hear."
After saying the above message, the synthesized voice will tell operators your exact location, as well as your Plus code. Following that, the type of assistance you need will be shared depending on which button you pressed. Of course, callers are able to take over at any time and cancel the message (without ending the call) if they are capable of speech.
We don't know exactly when this safety-oriented feature will launch, but regarding availability, Google says it will come to all Pixel devices and "select" Android devices (whatever that means). Either way, we can probably expect more specific release information in the coming weeks.
Masthead credit: Lansing State Journal