Google's 'Emergency Location Service' for Android comes to US
- Author: Terrell Bush Sep 22, 2018,
Sep 22, 2018, 2:29
Product Manager Akshay Kannan said in a blog post back then that your Global Positioning System information is sent directly to emergency services and is "never seen or handled by Google". With this announcement, emergency location from Android devices is now being delivered to emergency communications centers in the US via the RapidSOS NG911 Clearinghouse, a secure source of emergency data that is offered as a free service to every public safety agency nationwide.
As CNET points out, the vast majority of emergency calls in the U.S. are made from mobile devices, according to stats from the National Emergency Number Association. You also do not need to update your OS or upgrade an app.
Google first introduced ELS in 2016 but it was initially only available in the United Kingdom and Estonia because the firm must collaborate with local mobile network operators and emergency services for it to work. The service aims to enhance network operators, emergency infrastructure providers and governments provide accurate location information to the first responder during an emergency, Google stated. In testing the technology in the USA, emergency centers have told us ELS has already helped save lives in their jurisdiction, decreasing the average uncertainty radius from 159 meters to 37 meters (from 522 feet to 121 feet).
Android support for ELS in the U.S. comes as Apple rolls out iOS 12, the first version of iOS to enable ELS for iPhone users.
RapidSOS today announced the partnership which delivers life-saving 911 caller location information to public safety agencies nationwide.
The new service uses GPS, Wi-Fi, mobile networks, and sensors to give a precise location when a 911 call is placed.
Google announced ELS in 2016, making the service available in Estonia and the United Kingdom first, and gradually expanding to 14 countries worldwide. For example, in New Zealand, a caller was riding along on the highway when they saw a fire. Fire and Emergency New Zealand were able to use ELS to locate the caller and the fire.
Apple's iOS 11 includes a great SOS feature for when you feel unsafe in an emergency, but you may want to disable the feature on your iPhone or Apple Watch to avoid accidentally calling 911. The Mountain View search giant reports that its data decreases the average uncertainty radius from 522 feet to 121 feet.
The cyberattack slowed emergency response times as dispatchers had to resort to manual methods.