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Google launches Emergency Location Service for Android, here’s everything you need to know

Google’s Emergency Location Service feature for Android will send an accurate location of a user to emergency services when an emergency number is dialed. The feature uses Wi-Fi, GPS and cell towers to determine an accurate location.

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When emergency services receive a call, they ask for the caller’s location to send a help. Emergency solutions rely on cell tower location (which can have a radius of up to several kilometers) or assisted GPS (which is not believed to be very accurate indoors), thus making it difficult for services to locate and respond efficiently. Google is now fixing this problem with its new feature, Emergency Location Service.

Available for Android users, Google’s new service uses Wi-Fi, GPS and cell towers to determine the caller’s exact location. This feature, when supported by your network, sends location from your device to emergency services when you dial an emergency number.

The location of a user is never seen by Google, and is shared only when an emergency contact is dialed, and transferred directly to emergency services or through mobile network, claims the company.

The feature is supported by all Android devices running on version 2.3 and above and is available through Google Play. To activate the service, a user’s mobile network provider must support the feature. Currently the feature has been rolled out for Android users in UK and Estonia only. Nothing has been confirmed about when the feature will come to India.

That said, Google’s emergency service could be highly useful in India. It could help improve soon-to-be-implemented mandatory panic button on the smartphones. It may be recalled that the government has announced that all the new mobile phones being sold in India will have a mandatory panic button from 2017, a move aimed to bolster security of users, particularly women. The government also aims to have mandatory GPS on all handsets in the country starting 2018.

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