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Google and RapidSOS Collaborate to Provide 911 Text Service Through RCS

ByHuey Yee Ong

Jun 10, 2024

Google and RapidSOS Collaborate to Provide 911 Text Service Through RCS

Google has announced a collaboration with RapidSOS to introduce a new functionality in Google Messages that allows users to contact 911 through RCS (Rich Communication Services).

This development is particularly aimed at providing a solution where text-to-911 services are currently unavailable. The technology will be rolled out starting this winter, initially accessible only to users of Google Messages.

The integration of RCS in emergency communications is a significant enhancement given that, according to AccesSOS, a non-profit focused on emergency contact solutions, only 54% of 911 call centers in the U.S. currently support text-to-911 capabilities. Google’s initiative with RapidSOS is designed to bridge this gap, ensuring that individuals in areas without traditional emergency texting options have a reliable means of communication during emergencies. The use of RCS allows for the sending of richer content such as images and videos, providing more comprehensive context to emergency responders.

Elmar Weber, General Manager of Android Business Communications, highlighted the transformative potential of this technology in a statement. He emphasized that integrating RCS into Google Messages for emergency communication “will bring critical safety communications capabilities previously unavailable to users when they need it most.”

Weber also expressed a broader vision for the technology, stating, “Our goal is to make RCS the standard for emergency services texting everywhere, and we’re inviting the ecosystem to partner with us to provide reliable emergency messaging for everyone.”

The new 911 feature with RCS not only enables text communication with emergency services but also confirms the delivery of messages and provides real-time updates on whether first responders are actively addressing the emergency. Furthermore, Android’s integrated emergency location services can enhance the effectiveness of this system by automatically providing crucial information such as the user’s exact location, device language, and optionally shared medical details to emergency personnel.

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Featured Image courtesy of Google

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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