Can’t call 911? Google Messages app will allow you to text 911 via RCS to receive help

Can’t call 911? Google Messages app will allow you to text 911 via RCS to receive help

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RCS, or Rich Communication Services, is a messaging platform used on the Google Messages app for Android. When two RCS users message each other, they can share high-quality images, enjoy end-to-end encryption, receive read receipts, see typing indicators, and more. Google announced today that it will give users of the Google Messages app the first crack at texting 911 using RCS. This way, in situations where a phone call to 911 can’t be made, a text message can be sent to 911 so that help can be sent.

The beauty of having the RCS platform to send your request for help to 911 means that you will see the read receipts confirming that your message made it through to emergency services. As Google points out, “This eliminates the uncertainty of waiting to see if your messages went through.”

Part of the process of texting 911 requires that you send a photo or video of the underlying emergency. With RCS, you’ll be able to send a high-quality image or video so that the 911 crew can make out exactly what the emergency is allowing the right equipment to deployed. With Android Emergency Location Service, you can share your precise location with the 911 crew so that the emergency responders know exactly where they have to go to respond to the problem.

In some locations, you can contact 911 using SMS texting. However, this is available for only 53% of U.S. emergency responder call centers, and with SMS, you can’t always share pictures and videos of the emergency. Today’s news is a good example of why RCS is a much better messaging platform than SMS.

Apple has already said that sometime this year it will add RCS support to the iPhone and we could hear more about it and perhaps even find out exactly when this support will be added during the WWDC 2024 Keynote to be held this Monday, June 10th. It isn’t clear whether iPhone users, once they get RCS support, will be able to use the platform to text 911.
If you are an Android user, you can install Google Messages on your phone by tapping on this link which will take you to the Play Store where you can install the Google Messages app which includes RCS. 

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