Google’s Trusted Contacts app, which allows friends and family to request each other’s location, now has an iOS version. This app was originally released on Android in December 2016 exclusively for Android. Now that the app is on iOS too, emergency contacts can now check in on users no matter the device they’re using.
In addition to the iOS release, Google has made a few additions to the Trusted Contacts service. Now, users have the option to control how quickly their location is shared. This is particularly useful for people who need help but lose wireless service. New contacts can now be added via phone number, and a total of 25 languages are now supported on Trusted Contacts. The update follows another safety-minded decision b Google to start adding SOS Alerts at the top of Maps and search listings. These are designed to deliver crucial information in the event of catastrophic events like natural disasters and terrorist attacks.
In order to use Trusted Contacts, simply install the app on your smartphone, then assign “trusted” status to selected contacts. These people will be able to see if you have been moving around, and whether your phone is online. Also, if you feel unsafe, you can start sharing your specific location. Alternatively, if you have been offline for a while or your activity seems otherwise suspicious, your contacts can request to see your location. You could decline this request if you want, but if you cannot reach your phone in an emergency, your last-known location would be shared.
Moving forward, Google says that the app could be made more robust in order to help in widespread emergencies, like earthquakes and other natural disasters. Google product manager David Tattersall put it thus:
“It basically means that as long as you’ve got you phone in your pocket, someone can always find you in case of an emergency. You’re always findable.”