Google brings its high-accuracy emergency location tracking to the U.S.

In an emergency, every second can mean the difference between life and death, and Google’s latest tech could be a literal lifesafer.

In partnership with local carriers, Google has begun rolling out Emergency Location Services to Android devices — a service that will ultimately give first responders more accurate location information. The company first announced the new service two years ago, and since then it has rolled out to 99 percent of Android device with Android 4.0 or later, in a hefty 14 countries.

Now, in partnership with RapidSOS, ELS is finally coming to the United States. It will first be available on Android devices on T-Mobile, but will roll out to other carriers over time.

The move really brings calling 911 into the 21st century. In the past, emergency services were optimized for landlines, and the result was a large location radius. Now, 80 percent of emergency calls come from mobile phones — meaning those outdated systems really don’t compete in modern times.

The services have been really helpful in the countries that they’ve rolled out in. According to Google, the average uncertainty radius has shrunk from 522 feet to 121 feet — meaning that it’s far easier for emergency responders to find the emergency quickly.

“In Austria, a mountain biker in a remote, heavily forested area suffered a serious accident and called emergency services for help. The legacy emergency location systems provided a location with a radius of more than 900 meters (about half a mile), while ELS was able to provide a location within 12 meters (39 feet) to help first responders locate the biker,” said Google in a blog post announcing the U.S. launch.

Of course, the tech does raise some questions related to privacy, but Google is quick to point out that the location information is measured on the smartphone and passed straight to emergency services. In other words, it doesn’t pass through Google’s servers, which may be important for some.

So what do you need to do to ensure that ELS is enabled on your phone? Thankfully, nothing. As long as you have an Android phone with Android 4.0 or later, and your carrier supports the service, you’ll be able to make use of it. Hopefully, you’ll never need ELS, but if you do, it’ll most likely be there once more carriers support it.

Smart Home

Amazon Alexa enhancements add geolocation, kids’ Routines, and more

Amazon's digital assistant Alexa continues to evolve and its newest features should appeal to busy people and parents on the go, including location-based routines and reminders as well as Routines aimed toward kids.
Gaming

Not ready for the new 'Fortnite' winter wonderland? Here's our tourist guide

Fortnite season 7 has arrived with some chilly winter air and some pretty hefty changes to the Battle Royale map. We've got the full guide to all of the map changes, new locations, new terrain, and more, right here.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Movies & TV

Movies Anywhere service adds Comcast films to its library and devices

Movies Anywhere lets you watch movies purchased from different services all in one place, and it just got even better with the addition of Comcast, which joins Microsoft, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and FandangoNow.
Mobile

New Moment photo cases and lenses are a big plus for the OnePlus 6

Moment has announced that it is now releasing photo cases and lenses for the OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T, giving owners of those phones the ability to add on some high-quality photographic accessories.
Mobile

Vivo Nex Dual Display Edition: Everything you need to know

The Vivo Nex Dual Edition is the gorgeous flagship we need to close out 2018. In addition to dual screens, the Nex Dual Edition has some other awesome features. Here's everything you need to know about the new Vivo Nex Dual Edition.
Deals

REI clearance sale extends discounts on Garmin, Fitbit, and GoPro devices

Beyond the things you typically expect to find at REI — like tents, skis, and jackets — there are tons of great deals on quality tech foryour outdoor adventures. From smartwatches to action cameras, here are the best tech deals.
Mobile

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best wireless earbuds around.
Mobile

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.
Social Media

#ThrowbackThursday is only the start: Instagram hashtags for every day of the week

Not getting your hashtag fill with #ThrowbackThursday or #ManCrushMonday? Here's a list of some of the more popular Instagram hashtags, so you can outfit your next post with the proper tag, regardless of what day it is.
Mobile

Protect your new iPhone with one of our favorite iPhone XR cases

Apple's new iPhone range is the toast of 2018, with beautiful style and more power than you can shake a stick at. But beauty can often be fragile -- keep the damage to a minimum with the best iPhone XR cases.
Computing

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.
Mobile

Apple's iOS 12.1.1 makes it easier to switch cameras in FaceTime

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.