Date Published: 27th July 2016

When calling the emergency services, the way way the caller describes their location can literally be the difference between life and death – however the new Android feature can prevent human error being a factor. Google have just launched it’s new ‘Emergency Location Service’, which means emergency services will receive the location of the caller whenever a call is made to them from an Android phone user.

Whenever a user dials an emergency service number, the new feature will use Wi-Fi, GPS and cell tower locations to pinpoint the caller’s exact location. The service will work indoors and outdoors, and is expected to be far more reliable than conventional emergency service technologies which give a much less precise location. The co-ordinates will be transmitted to the emergency services either directly or through the users mobile network – and will never been seen or handled by Google themselves.

Emergency Location Service already works on over 99 percent of existing Android device, as installs automatically due to being a function of the Google Play Services app which is central to Android’s software. Android phones running version 2.3 or above are compatible with the Emergency Location Service, said Kannan, but full support depends on whether the mobile service provider and emergency infrastructure provider have opted in.

Emergency Location Service isn’t yet available globally. Google has partnered with a number of network providers, including Telia, Vodafone, Elisa, O2, BT Group, EE Limited, and Tele2 AB to launch the feature in the U.K. and Estonia. The long term goal for Google is to make Adroid’s Emergency Location Service available internationally.

If you’re an Android user and you want to enable Emergency Location Service,  you don’t have to lift a finger — it activates automatically when a supported network is detected.

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