There are times in our everyday lives that personal safety becomes a concern. And it is for times like these that Google has come out with the Trusted Contacts app on Monday. The app lets your loved ones know your status and where you are, without necessarily needing your intervention. The app is available on Android and iOS.
Once you’re on the app, you can select specific people from your contacts list as your trusted contacts - this should typically be people who would be concerned about your whereabouts and any unexpected delays and who can respond appropriately in the case of an emergency. Now, those individuals will also need to have this app installed for this system to work. When these contacts open the app, they can see your status, as in if you are active right now on your smartphone, if you were active in the last one hour, the battery as well as the connectivity status of your smartphone.
On top of this, if your trusted contacts want to see your location, they can do it in two ways. The first one requires you to have shared your location explicitly with the contact from the main screen, for which they do get a notification. Also, if they want to know where you are they can request your location. This creates a notification from your app which, if ignored for 5 minutes, auto-shares your last location with the contact who has requested it. You can also post text updates from the ‘View Map’ screen, which shares the update with the viewer as well. Simple ones like ‘I am ok’ or ‘I need assistance’ are available as auto-responses.
You can also pin a particular contact, which will display their location on the notifications panel permanently until you unpin them again. This feature apparently has a bug where, if the pinned contact uninstalls the app, their info and contact is removed from your app but the pinned notification stays. Even your location sharing is displayed as a persistent notification, which you can directly interact with to stop it or add the text update to it directly. There are multiple other nuances in the app like displaying when your location was last viewed, the ability to stop certain contacts from being able to share their location with you or request your location and more.
While it is true that this will be really helpful because, well, it is Google and almost every Android user already shares their location with Google anyways, there are quite a few apps out there that are trying to ensure the same features to users. If there is one field where there should be competition for a better outcome, this is it.