Tell your emergency contacts where you are with Trusted Contacts from Google

Google's Trusted Contacts app available for iOS, adds languages and features

google shops best buy shop
Google’s Trusted Contacts app, which allows friends and family to request each other’s location, has just landed on iOS. The app originally released last December exclusively for Android, though the update means that emergency contacts can now check in no matter what devices they’re using.

“Whether it’s hiking alone or walking down a street after dark — sometimes you want to know someone’s got your back,” Google wrote in a blog post announcement debuting the app. “To help you feel safe and give your friends and family peace of mind, today we’re launching Trusted Contacts. This new personal safety app lets you share your location with loved ones in everyday situations and when emergencies arise — even if your phone is offline or you can’t get to it.”

In addition to the iOS release, Google has made a handful of helpful additions to the service. Users are now given the option to control how quickly their location is shared, which is particularly important for those who need help but lose wireless service. New contacts can now be added by phone number, and a total of 25 languages are now supported, now including Amharic, Greek, Persian, Bahasa, Macedonian, Burmese, Nepali, Serbian and Urdu.

The update follows another safety-minded decision by Google to start delivering “SOS Alerts” at the top of Maps and search listings. These alerts are designed to deliver crucial information in the event of catastrophes like natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

In order to use the app, simply install it on your Android or iOS device (there is also a web interface on desktop), then assign “trusted” status to selected contacts. Those folks will be able to see if you have been moving around and whether your phone is online. 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. Of course, you can decline this request, but should you be unable to get to your phone in a real emergency, your last-known location will be automatically shared.

While other apps, like Apple’s Find My Friends, have similar functionality, Trusted Contacts differs in that it doesn’t share your location automatically. While selected contacts can see a broad overview of your whereabouts and activity, you won’t have to worry about your privacy being invaded. “Of course, you can stop sharing your location or change your trusted contacts whenever you want,” Google noted.

Moving forward, Google says that the app could be made more robust to help in widespread emergencies, like earthquakes and other natural disasters. As Google product manager David Tattersall told Mashable, “It basically means then that as long as you’ve got your phone in your pocket, someone can always find you in case of an emergency. You’re always findable.”

Update: Added information regarding the app’s release for iOS.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

These parental control apps will help keep your kids' device habits in check

Looking for extra security and monitoring on mobile devices? Take a look at the best parental control apps for limiting time and keeping watch on your child's phone usage and behavior. We have the top options for Android and iOS here.

Is somebody watching you? How to stop apps from tracking your location

If you don't like the idea of your every movement being tracked by apps on the phone in your pocket, then you may want to turn location tracking off. We take a look at how to do it on an iPhone or Android phone in this easy guide.
Smart Home

With a simple command, Alexa can arm all your security devices

Alexa customers can query status plus arm or disarm home security systems several companies. New Alexa Guard skills set your home to away mode, send alerts when alarms or sensors go off, and contact home security monitoring services.

Need gift ideas? Here’s what to get the skiers and snowboarders in your life

You can't purchase snow, but you can grab your favorite skier or snowboarder some sweet gear this holiday season. We've hand-picked some of the best available that'll wow even the most well-equipped terrain park junkie we know.

iOS jailbreak app store Cydia shuts down purchasing

For years, iOS users have been jailbreaking their devices to install software not approved by Apple. But now the popular app store alternative Cydia will no longer be accepting purchases.

Lawsuit alleges Apple falsely advertised the screen size of the iPhone X

A lawsuit alleges that Apple was dishonest in the way that it marketed the iPhone X. The lawsuit alleges that despite Apple's marketing campaign, the new iPhone is not in fact all screen because of the notch.

Report: Samsung's upcoming foldable phone will cost a hefty $1,800

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy F, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.

Apple is still selling iPhones in China despite being ordered not to

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Smart Home

Starbucks teams with Uber Eats for delivery from 2,000 of its U.S. stores

Starbucks has teamed up with Uber Eats to offer customers deliveries from almost a quarter of its stores in the U.S. The major expansion launches early next year, making life even easier for fans of the coffee giant.

Huawei Nova 4 has a hole in the screen, and a 48-megapixel camera on the back

Huawei has launched the Nova 4, a new smartphone that has abandoned the screen notch and adopted a punch hole alternative, and also has a massive 48-megapixel camera. Here's what you need to know about the Nova 4.

Black hole in the screen of Samsung's new Galaxy A8s has a camera inside

Samsung is building exciting, technologically innovative midrange phones, and the latest to be revealed is the new Samsung Galaxy A8s, which may give us an idea of what the new Samsung Galaxy S10 will look like.

Score a Christmas deal with Speck’s half-off sale on its entire range of cases

The holidays might be nearing, but bargains don't take time off. To celebrate the last day for U.S. ground shipping, Speck will be offering a sitewide 50-percent-off deal for one day only on Monday December 17.

Doubts emerge over when LG will reveal its folding smartphone

LG may be working on a folding smartphone, making it the latest device manufacturer to be linked to the technology, which may become one of the standout designs of the coming year.