Google has improved the SOS application, which will now prevent accidental calls to rescuers. The new security feature will eliminate false alarms, but it comes at a price.
SOS functions on your phone that give you a sense of security can even save your life, but recently their operation often results in false alarms. Apple has already struggled with similar challenges, and now Google is changing the operation of its alarm application.
Google is changing the SOS application – it is supposed to prevent false alarms
This is the Google Personal Safety application, which is pre-installed on the company’s Pixel phones, but is also used by other smartphone manufacturers such as Nothing and Sony.
Until now, calling the emergency number only required pressing the power button five times. This is usually quite difficult to do accidentally… unless the phone hits another object in our pocket or purse. Even when walking, you could call the rescuers and not even know it. The problem of fake 999 calls was reported by, among others, British services.
The app update is intended to reduce false alarms. Engineers have added a new “touch and hold” function. As you might guess, it requires you to press the power button 5 times on the screen for three seconds to confirm the notification sent to emergency numbers.
Extra security has just become the default method of operation when setting up your phone for the first time. Users who previously only used five-time press can also use it, although this is not a mandatory change.
Security and false alarms – the difficult issue of SOS
Google requires SOS functionality on every device running Android 12 or later. However, the company does not force you to use only the company’s app, so, among others: Samsung has its own alarm solution.
However, all such applications struggle with similar problems. Technical issues and system performance problems may cause the phone to register multiple clicks of the power button. Other systems use acceleration measurement to detect falls or car accidents. This can also be quite a problem, including: when we practice demanding sports or go to an amusement park.
On the other hand, making the SOS function too difficult can also end badly. When we have seconds to call for help, additional steps such as “touch and hold” may prevent us from sending a message, e.g. before losing consciousness.