Let your loved ones know you’re safe with new personal safety app.
Whether it’s hiking alone or walking down a street after dark — sometimes you want to know someone’s got your back, feel safe and give your friends and family peace of mind. Google’s new personal safety app lets you share your location with loved ones in everyday situations and when emergencies arise — even if your phone is offline or you can’t get to it.
Here’s how it works: Once you install the app, you can assign “trusted” status to your closest friends and family. Your trusted contacts will be able to see your activity status — whether you’ve moved around recently and are online — to quickly know if you’re OK. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe, you can share your actual location with your trusted contacts. And if your trusted contacts are really worried about you, they can request to see your location. If everything’s fine, you can deny the request. But if you’re unable to respond within a reasonable timeframe, your location is shared automatically and your loved ones can determine the best way to help you out. Of course, you can stop sharing your location or change your trusted contacts whenever you want.
Here’s a little more detail on how Trusted Contacts might work, starring Elliot and Thelma:
Get help even if your phone’s offline
Elliot heads out for a hike on his own, telling Thelma he’ll meet her for coffee later. About an hour in, Elliot realizes he’s strayed off the path and lost service. When Elliot doesn’t show up at the coffee shop, Thelma starts to worry. Because Trusted Contacts works even if a phone is offline, Thelma requests Elliot’s location and in five minutes can see that his last known location was in the middle of the canyon. Thelma calls the nearest ranger station, they send out a rescue party, and find Elliot in a few hours.
Invite a trusted friend to virtually walk you home if you feel unsafe
Elliot stayed at the office later than normal and notices it’s awfully dark out. He opens Trusted Contacts and shares his location with Thelma. Now Thelma can walk him home — virtually. When Elliot gets home, he simply taps the banner at the top of the screen or from the lockscreen and stops sharing his location.
Whether you just need a little reassurance or you’re actually in an emergency, Trusted Contacts helps connect you with the people you care about most — at the times you need them most.
Control how quickly your location is shared
In preparation for a situation where you might need help but can’t answer your phone—imagine you get lost while hiking and lose service—you can choose how long to wait before your location is automatically shared with a trusted contact who asks for your location. Previously set to five minutes by default, you can now choose to share immediately or wait up to an hour.
Add trusted contacts by phone number
You can now add trusted contacts by phone number, as well as by email address. When you type in a phone number, an SMS is sent to that person with an invitation to connect. If they accept, then they become a trusted contact and you’ll see their name and profile picture in your app from then on.