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Google today announced that it is partnering with emergency technology company RapidSOS to allow U.S. Android users to text 911 in emergencies using its Rich Communication Services (RCS) protocol.

google-emergency-services-rcs.jpg

When it is not possible to call 911, Android users will be able to send a text instead to get emergency help. The texting feature will provide precise location information to emergency responders, and it will let users send high-resolution photos and videos.

Texting 911 will be available to U.S. Android device owners who use Google Messages, but because it is a feature baked into RCS, it could also expand to other devices like the iPhone. Later this year, Apple plans to adopt RCS to replace SMS/MMS.

The option to text 911 via RCS will roll out to emergency call centers across the United States starting this winter. In some places, it is already possible to text 911 over SMS, but not all emergency call centers support the technology. Google is aiming to bring texting to all call centers, and to improve the ability to send photos and videos with RCS. Google says RCS for emergency 911 texts will bring the following benefits:
  • Confirmation that an emergency request has been delivered and viewed.
  • The ability to see if an emergency responder is replying to a message.
  • Options for sending high-resolution photos and videos to more accurately relay what's going on in an emergency situation.
  • Precise location sharing, language settings, and opt-in medical information sharing.
Google says that it is working with "partners across the industry" to expand access to emergency services through RCS, and that it wants to make RCS the "standard for emergency services texting everywhere."

Article Link: Google Adds RCS Feature for Texting 911
 

miamialley

macrumors 68040
Jul 28, 2008
3,526
1,013
California, USA
that sounds useful, but gotta ask, when is it not possible to call 911? need cell/internet service in either case...
Like you don’t want someone to hear you make a phone call. Text need less signal to get through and can keep trying. I would prefer to text 911 as it’s more accurate and instant. I’ve never understood why it’s not utilized more and more broadly available.
 

relaxedpanda

macrumors newbie
Mar 14, 2023
13
89
that sounds useful, but gotta ask, when is it not possible to call 911? need cell/internet service in either case...
Be thankful that you've never had to think about or do this

These early comments are already so annoying. People complaining about Google offering more ways for people in life threatening or needing urgent help from their first responders. Get a grip everyone, this is a good thing for the world to have. We are so lucky to have technology and resources to have something like this
 

sw1tcher

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
5,603
19,843
Hypothetically, if I'm hiding in a closet from armed home intruders, the last thing I want to do is speak.

A 17-year-old girl was able to save herself from being trafficked by texting 911.

The teenager, who authorities said was a victim of human trafficking, began texting the emergency number with “pleas for help” around 3 a.m. on May 9, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

The texts were routed to the Sheriff Office’s communication center, where staff began translating the messages from Spanish.

In a news release, the department said the teenager began texting landmarks and other “identifiable information” she was seeing, which helped the agency quickly dispatch deputies to the correct area. The teenager was located in Casitas Springs.

Ventura County began allowing people to reach 911 dispatchers via text in 2021.

The change was meant to make emergency dispatch services more accessible to people with speech impairments or people in emergency situations who can’t make phone calls, such as victims of domestic abuse, the Ventura County Star reported at the time.
 

gaximus

macrumors 68020
Oct 11, 2011
2,293
4,532
that sounds useful, but gotta ask, when is it not possible to call 911? need cell/internet service in either case...
You could have no cell service and not have WiFi calling enabled. RCS is an internet protocol, so you have internet and not have calling.

or when the signal is not good enough for a call, but could get out a text message, like how Apple uses emergency messaging satellite.
 
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