Google Messages may use Garmin Response for SOS Emergency feature
Google is working on integrating emergency SOS functionality into its Google Messages application. The safety feature is designed to allow users to request help even in locations and situations without mobile and wireless LAN reception.
The technology uses satellite connectivity so that users may request help in an emergency. Apple introduced Emergency SOS via Satellite in all iPhone 14 models, albeit in a limited number of regions. The company explains on a support page that Emergency SOS via satellite helps users "connect with emergency services under exceptional circumstances when no other means of reaching emergency services are available". Apple users may turn off Emergency SOS on their devices.
Neïl Rahmouni found information about the planned Satellite Emergency SOS feature of Google Messages in code. One of the strings used by Google in the Google Messages code referred to Garmin Response. The entire String read: "For questions about your emergency, call Garmin Response at $1%s. To report a new emergency, call your local emergency number".
Garmin's Response Center operates from the U.S. state of Texas. The company claims that it maintains a global database of local first responders and that it has "supported more than 10,000 inReach incident responses in more than 150 countries" so far. Garmin's inReach technology is integrated into Garmin inReach devices.
Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon Satellite technology back in January 2023, which it said was the first satellite-based solution that supports two-way messaging. Back then, Qualcomm revealed that it entered into an agreement with Iridium to bring the functionality to next generation premium Android smartphones. In the press release, Qualcomm revealed that Garmin had plans to use the system for emergency messaging.
Qualcomm claims that Snapdragon Satellite is offering global coverage "from pole to pole", supports two-way messaging for emergency use, SMS texting, and also other messaging applications "for a variety of purposes such as emergencies or recreation in remote, rural and offshore locations".
The functionality is powered by Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems and supported "by the fully operational Iridium satellite constellation".
The technology is launched in Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile platform devices and future Snapdragon-based devices. First devices with support for emergency messaging via Snapdragon Satellite are expected to be released in the second quarter of 2023.
Qualcomm hinted at the possibility of introducing Snapdragon Satellite functionality into other devices types, including tablets, laptops, vehicles and Internet of Things devices.
Google has yet to confirm the cooperation with Garmin's emergency SOS technology in Google Messages.
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