Category Archives: Android Blog

News and notes from the Android team

Encryption for everyone: How Adiantum will keep more devices secure

Editor's note: February 5 was Safer Internet Day, but we’ll be talking about it all week with a collection of posts from teams from across Google.


Encryption is incredibly important. It underpins our digital security. Encryption encodes data so that it can only be read by individuals with a key. With encryption, you are in complete control of this key, and you can store sensitive information such as personal data securely.

But encryption isn’t always practical, since it would slow some computers, smartphones and other devices to the point of being unusable. That changes with Adiantum, which we are introducing today in the spirit of Safer Internet Day.

Adiantum is a new form of encryption that we built specifically to run on phones and smart devices that don’t have the specialized hardware to use current methods to encrypt locally stored data efficiently. Adiantum is designed to run efficiently without that specialized hardware. This will make the next generation of devices more secure than their predecessors, and allow the next billion people coming online for the first time to do so safely. Adiantum will help secure our connected world by allowing everything from smart watches to internet-connected medical devices to encrypt sensitive data. (For more details about the ins and outs of Adiantum, check out the security blog.)

Our hope is that Adiantum will democratize encryption for all devices. Just like you wouldn’t buy a phone without text messaging, there will be no excuse for compromising security for the sake of device performance. Everyone should have privacy and security, regardless of their phone’s price tag.

Source: Android


Making audio more accessible with two new apps

The World Health Organization estimates that by the year 2055, there will be 900 million people with hearing loss. We believe in the power of technology to help break down barriers and make life a little easier for everyone. Today, we’re introducing two new apps for Android designed to help deaf and hard-of-hearing people: Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier.

Bringing captions to conversations with Live Transcribe

Dimitri Kanevsky is a research scientist at Google who has worked on speech recognition and communications technology for the last 30 years. Through his work, Dimitri—who has been deaf since early childhood—has helped shape the accessibility technologies he relies on. One of them is CART: a service where a captioner virtually joins a meeting to listen and create a transcription of spoken dialogue, which then displays on a computer screen. Dimitri’s teammate, Chet Gnegy, saw the challenges Dimitri faced using CART: he always carried multiple devices, it was costly and each meeting required a lot of preparation. This meant Dimitri could only use CART for formal business meetings or events, and not everyday conversations.

That inspired Chet to work with the Accessibility team to build a tool that could reduce Dimitri’s effort spent preparing for conversations. We thought: What if we used cloud-based automatic speech recognition to display spoken words on a screen? A prototype was built and Googlers across a bunch of our offices—from Mountain View to Taipei—got involved. The result is Live Transcribe, an app that takes real-world speech and turns it into real-time captions using just the phone’s microphone.

Live Transcribe has the potential to give people who are deaf or hard of hearing greater independence in their everyday interactions. It brought Dimitri closer to his loved ones—he’s now able to easily communicate with his six-year-old twin granddaughters without help from other family members. We’ve heard similar feedback from partners at Gallaudet University, the world’s premier university for deaf and hard of hearing people, who helped us design and validate that Live Transcribe met needs of their community.

livetranscribe

Live Transcribe is available in over 70 languages and dialects. It also enables two-way conversation via a type-back keyboard for users who can’t or don’t want to speak, and connects with external microphones to improve transcription accuracy. To use Live Transcribe, enable it in Accessibility Settings, then start Live Transcribe from the accessibility button on the navigation bar. Starting today, Live Transcribe will gradually rollout in a limited beta to users worldwide via the Play Store and pre-installed on Pixel 3 devices. Sign up here to be notified when it’s more widely available.

Clarifying sound with Sound Amplifier

Everyone can use a little audio boost from time to time, especially in situations where there’s a lot of background noise—like at a loud cafe or airport lounge. Today, we’re launching Sound Amplifier, which we announced at Google I/O last year.

With Sound Amplifier, audio is more clear and easier to hear. You can use Sound Amplifier on your Android smartphone with wired headphones to filter, augment and amplify the sounds in your environment. It works by increasing quiet sounds, while not over-boosting loud sounds. You can customize sound enhancement settings and apply noise reduction to minimize distracting background noise with simple sliders and toggles. 

sound amplifier

Sound Amplifier is available on the Play Store and supports Android 9 Pie or later phones and comes pre-installed on Pixel 3. With both Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier, our goal is to help the hundreds of millions of people who are deaf or hard of hearing communicate more clearly.

Source: Android


Find more balance in your life this year, with help from Google

With our phones constantly buzzing and our inboxes filling up, it can sometimes feel like we’re always logged in. It’s easy to forget the importance of making deliberate choices about when we want to use our phones, and to know when we can take a much-needed break from screens.

Looking for more balance in your life this year? Here are some tools that will help you better understand how you’re currently using your phone, get more out your tech and carve out time to be a little more zen in 2019.

1. Take a look at your Digital Wellbeing dashboard.

Android Time Spent feature

The Digital Wellbeing dashboard on Android devices helps you understand how frequently you currently use different apps, how many notifications you receive and how often you unlock your phone. By looking at your usage over time, it’s easy to think about whether you’re getting value from the time spent on each activity and make changes.

2. Cut down on all that scrolling with app timers.

Android app timer

Once you’ve identified apps you’d like to use less often, you can set up app timers so your phone will nudge you when you’re close to your self-imposed limit. The app icon button will then gray out, with a notification to remind you of your goal, when you’ve exhausted the time limit you’ve set for yourself.

3. Use Flip to Shhh on Pixel 3.

Shhh mode on Pixel

For Pixel 3 users out there, if you turn your phone over on a table — like when you’re at dinner — your device automatically enters Do Not Disturb mode so you can focus on being present, not mindlessly checking sports scores or playing a game.

4. Create more family time with Family Link and the YouTube Kids app.

Digital Wellbeing for family and kids

If you have kids, Family Link and the YouTube Kids app allow you to set the digital ground rules for everyone in the household. With Family Link, you can view your children's activity, manage their apps, find apps recommended by teachers, set screen time limits and even lock their devices when it’s dinner or “go outside and play” time.

With the YouTube Kids app, you can decide whether or not your kids can use YouTube Kids search, keep tabs on the videos they’re watching and even block videos or channels you don’t want them to see—along with setting time limits for how long they can play with the app.

5. Get stuff done quickly and focus on what matters to you.

Great technology should improve your life, not distract from it, and a bunch of Google tools are here to help. The Google Assistant offers you downtime from screens by letting you to use your voice to send messages, control smart home devices and play music when you just want to chill. Google Photos automatically stylizes your photos for you, Android Auto minimizes distractions while you’re driving and Gmail’s Smart Compose already helps people save over a billion characters every week by suggesting words and phrases for you as you write.

6. Practice mindfulness and take a break.

Try searching for “mindfulness” in Google Play to download relaxing apps like Headspace, Calm, and many others to kickstart your wellbeing journey. You can also say to your Google Assistant, “I want to meditate” to get a bunch of app recommendations and healing sounds, and the recently updated Google Fit app now has guided breathing exercises for you, too.

7. Keep up with the #GetFitWithGoogle challenge.

With all this extra time, you might even have time to sneak in an extra run this week. We’re now three weeks into the #GetFitWithGoogle global challenge, with just one week to go as our influencer teams race to earn the most Heart Points during January with Google Fit.

Congrats to Colombia for holding onto the lead going into the final week!

Get Fit With Google leaderboard, week 3

Keep an eye on the #GetFitWithGoogle hashtag on Instagram and follow the teams below to follow their fitness journeys. Will Team Switzerland make a final dash for the line? Just one week to go before we announce the overall winners.

Don’t forget to share your own Heart Points progress using #GetFitWithGoogle to help others like you stay motivated.


Source: Android


Kick-start your New Year’s resolutions with Google Fit

January is fast approaching—and that means it’s almost time for New Year's resolutions, even though most people seem to abandon them about a week into the new year. But if 2019 is the year you want to stick to your goals, you may want to get a head start. In fact, our New Year's resolution is to make it easier for you to get healthy, and have fun doing it. Here's how you can put health and wellness first in 2019, with a little help from Google.

Step 1: Get in the game.

Go to the Google Fit app to join a 30-day challenge designed to kick-start your journey to a healthier, more active life. The challenge begins on January 1, but you can sign up starting today (running shoes optional). You’ll earn Heart Points from activities that you log or actively track with Google Fit. Better yet, Google Fit will automatically detect and log walks, runs or bike rides for you. Your goal is to get as many points as possible—and we’ll be cheering you on along the way.

Step 2: Learn the ground rules.

You’ll score Heart Points for any activity that gets your heart pumping. Get one point for each minute of moderate activity, like picking up the pace while walking your dog, and double points for more intense activities like running or kickboxing. Hit 150 Heart Points per week to meet the American Heart Association (AHA) and the World Health Organization (WHO)’s physical activity recommendations shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, improve sleep and increase overall mental well-being.

Step 3: Get moving.

We hear you: It’s tough to get motivated when it’s cold outside. Here are some ways you can earn Heart Points while you’re going about your winter routine:

  • Want to involve the whole family? Go sledding with your kids and earn double Heart Points.  
  • Skip the snowblower and grab a shovel. Extra points if you do your neighbor’s yard, too.
  • You’ll probably make a hot cocoa run at some point. Park at the farther end of the lot and squeeze in a brisk walk.
  • If you find yourself on the mountain this winter, skiing and snowboarding are all intense activities that can earn you double Heart Points.
  • If the hot cocoa didn’t warm you up, catch a spin class and earn a Heart Point for every minute you’re on the bike.

Step 4: Find a buddy.

For more inspiration, we’ve teamed up with 36 influencers from nine countries around the globe to show us how they’re earning their Heart Points. Follow #GetFitWithGoogle on Instagram and YouTube to see how others are tackling the challenge, or share your own tips and tricks on how you #GetFitwithGoogle with your favorite Heart Points workout.

Are you up for the challenge? Sign-up today in the Google Fit app. If you’re new to Google Fit, try it here to start the year right with Fit.

Source: Android


Bringing eSIM to more networks around the world

With eSIM,  getting wireless service is as easy as turning on your phone. Gone are the days of going to the store to get a SIM card and fumbling around to try and place it into a small slot. With eSIM, we hope to bring you instant connectivity across more carrier networks, and devices in the Google ecosystem—from Android smartphones to Chromebooks to Wear OS smartwatches.

Pixel 2 was the first major smartphone with eSIM, and now, on Pixel 3,  we’re expanding eSIM support to more carriers. If you’re in the U.S. and would like to purchase a phone that has eSIM, head over to Google Fi or the Google Store. If you’re in Germany, look out for the ability to purchase Pixel 3 with eSIM functionality from Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone soon. Sprint in the U.S., EE in the UK, Airtel and Reliance Jio in India, and Truphone and Gigsky in various countries will also roll out eSIM support for Pixel 3 in the coming months.

To enable a consistent and simple experience across the ecosystem, we’re also creating a program that allows Android device makers to build eSIM-capable smartphones. We look forward to continuing our work with our partners on the potential benefits of eSIM—whether that’s getting you connected to a phone, watch, tablet, or laptop—in the future.

Source: Android


Upgrade your daily drive with new Android Auto features

When you’re on the road, the journey can be just as important as the destination. Today we’ve added new Android Auto features that make your drives even more simple, personal and helpful—including easier access to your favorite content with improved media browse and search features, plus new ways to stay connected with visual message previews and group messaging.

You can try out these new features with some of your favorite media apps—like Google Play Books, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, Pocket Casts and Spotify. Popular messaging apps like Messages, Hangouts and WhatsApp also work with the new messaging features. In the coming months, we’ll work with more apps to add support for these new features.

New ways to discover media

If driving in silence isn’t for you, playing and finding media just got easier. By bringing content to the forefront of your screen, you can now spend less time browsing and more time enjoying the content you like most. An improved layout, featuring large album art views, lets you quickly identify and select something to play.

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Got something specific in mind? We’ve also made improvements to the voice search experience. Just say “OK Google, play 80s music” or “OK Google, play Lilt” to view even more categorized search results from your app right on the screen.

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More options for messaging

As you’re driving, you don’t have to worry about missing important messages—you can now safely stay connected with multiple people at once. When messages arrive, Android Auto can show you a short preview of the text when your vehicle is stopped. This message previewing capability is purely optional (enabled via Android Auto’s settings menu), giving you the ability to choose what’s most important—privacy or convenience.

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In addition to SMS messaging, Android Auto now supports apps that use MMS (multimedia messaging service) and RCS (rich communication services). This means that your favorite messaging apps can now offer additional capabilities, like support for group messaging.


The updates will be fully available in the next several days. Check out the Android Auto app in the Google Play Store to try out these new features on your next drive.

Source: Android


Celebrating a Sweet Decade of Android

Ten years ago, we introduced the first version of the Android operating system with the T-Mobile G1, and launched Android Market (now Google Play) the very same day. Android has grown up a lot since then—there are now more than 2 billion active Android devices around the world.

The operating system itself has gone through some major transformations, too. The G1 ran on Android 1.0—a version so early, we didn’t even name it after a dessert. The debut included features that you know and love today like pull-down notifications, sharing content across apps and multitasking between apps. But it didn’t have more advanced features like voice search, turn-by-turn navigation or NFC. 10 years later, we’ve come a long way! Our latest release of the operating system, Android 9 Pie, has all of those features and harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to make your phone smarter, simpler and more adaptive.

On the occasion of Android’s 10th birthday, we’re taking a trip down memory lane to look at the earliest versions of Android, the major improvements of each release and how far we’ve come:

Cupcake (Android 1.5) added virtual keyboards, customization options and easy ways to share.

Cupcake.png

With the introduction of virtual keyboards, Cupcake opened the doors to full touchscreen Android devices. And with home screen app widgets, you had more ways to customize your device, a defining feature still used today, alongside app folders. Sharing directly from your smartphone became easier with more ways to copy and paste and the ability to capture, share and upload videos.

Donut (Android 1.6) gave you one easy place to search across your phone and the web.

Donut introduced Android’s Quick Search Box, which lets you get search results from both the web and across your phone, from a single box on the homescreen. Even in these early days, the system was designed to learn which search results were more relevant, getting you to the right results faster the next time you typed in a relevant query. We also introduced support for different screen densities and sizes, laying the foundation for the very high density screens and variety of phone sizes we see today.

Eclair (Android 2.0+) changed driving forever with Google Maps navigation and speech-to-text.

Eclair.png

Google Maps navigation made Android smartphones, well, smart. Turn-by-turn directions using Google Maps data included many features found in a typical in-car navigation system: a forward-looking 3D view, voice guidance and traffic information—all for free on your high resolution phone. Eclair also added speech-to-text transcription, which lets you input text like emails and messages with your voice.

We also introduced a fan favorite feature: live wallpapers.

Voice Actions in Froyo (Android 2.2+) helped you do even more hands-free.

Froyo.png

Froyo took Android voice capabilities to the next level with Voice Actions, which let you perform key functions on your phone—searching, getting directions, making notes, setting alarms and more—with just the sound of your voice. Sounds familiar

Gingerbread (Android 2.3) added early battery management capabilities.

Gingerbread.png

Gingerbread helped you get the most out of your battery life by knowing exactly how your device was using it, from screen brightness to any active app. With Android 9, we’ve taken battery life management to a whole new level with Adaptive Battery, which uses AI to learn the apps you use most and prioritize battery for them.

Honeycomb (Android 3.0) extended Android to more shapes and sizes.

Honeycomb.png

Honeycomb’s new Holo design language, along with larger layout and rich animation support, made the most of your tablet’s screen. This was the first version of Android that was intended for different form factors, laying the groundwork for more robust and flexible platforms introduced later, like Android TV, Android Auto, Android Things and Wear OS by Google.

Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) introduced smooth moves

Ice Cream Sandwich introduced a simplified and streamlined design to help you get things done on your phone faster. New features like app folders, a favorites tray and widgets made it easier to find and use your favorite apps. The addition of NFC didn’t just pave the way for mobile payments—it also made “beaming” of maps, videos, links and contacts easy by placing two phones together.

Navigation became more intuitive with the arrival of quick settings and the ability to swipe to dismiss recent apps and notifications, features first introduced in tablets with Honeycomb, brought to phones. This release reflected a renewed focus on creating fluid experiences in Android—an effort that continues to this day with intuitive gestures in Android 9.

Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) brought personalized and intelligent assistance to the palm of your hand

Jelly Bean.png

A precursor to the Google Assistant, Google Now in Jelly Bean helped you get the information you needed at just the right time—like the daily weather as you got dressed and commute times before you walked out the door. Notifications became richer, allowing you to expand them to show more content and immediately take actions, such as liking a post, archiving an email or even blocking future notifications.

Ok Google, tell me about KitKat (Android 4.4)

KitKat built on the earlier Voice actions, uniting the helpfulness of Google Now with improvements in voice technology and letting you launch voice search, send a text, get directions, or play a song just by saying “Ok Google.” KitKat also brought lighter colors and transparency to Android’s design, setting the stage for Material Design in Lollipop.

Android 5.0’s Lollipop brought great design to Android

Lollipop.png

With Lollipop, we brought Material Design to Android, introducing an entirely new look and feel that made it easier to navigate your device. Material Design is a visual language that combines the classic principles of good design with the innovation of technology and science. Lollipop also made it more seamless to transition across the devices that you use throughout the day, so that you can pick up where you left off across Android phones, tablets, TV and wearables.

Help was on tap in Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Marshmallow represented another next step in the journey to the Google Assistant we know today. With Now on Tap, you could simply tap and hold the Home button to get contextual help—customized to your task at hand, without having to leave what you were doing, whether in an app or on a website.

To help save your juice for the things that matter most, Marshmallow brought some new battery saving features: Doze, which automatically puts your device into a sleep state when it’s at rest, and App Standby, which limits the impact of less frequently used apps on battery life.

We also introduced run-time permissions, which help users better understand and evaluate requests for apps to have access to certain data.

N was for Nougat (Android 7.0) and new emoji

Nougat.png

Nougat focused on improvements to the ways you were already using your phone—adding multi-window to let you run two apps side by side, instant reply within notifications, adjustable display size for improved accessibility, and Data Saver which limits how much data your devices uses on background. We also introduced VR mode to enable high-quality VR experiences for apps, and 63 new emoji that focus on better gender representation—in all six skin tone options. 🙌

The world’s favorite cookie became the world’s favorite new Android release—Android 8.0 Oreo

Oreo.png

Oreo introduced ways to navigate tasks on your phone more seamlessly, like picture-in-picture, and Autofill, which helps you log into your apps faster. Oreo also continued to simplify the Android experience with more visual cohesion and easier gestures—like swiping up from the homescreen to see all your apps.

And with Oreo (Go edition), we built our first-ever configuration of Android specifically optimized for entry-level devices, ensuring that first-time smartphone users get a fast, powerful experience.

Android 9 Pie serves a slice of Digital Wellbeing

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The way we use our phones—and how much time we spend on them—has changed a lot since the days of Cupcake. So one of the biggest changes in Android 9 Pie is the introduction of new ways for you to take control of your digital wellbeing, including a new app timer and a dashboard that lets you see how much time you spend in various apps. With Android 9, your phone also changes the way it works by learning from you—and working better for you—the more you use it. Artificial intelligence now powers core capabilities of your phone, from predicting your next task so you can jump right into the action you want to take to prioritizing battery power for the apps you use most and the ones it thinks you are going to use soon.

From the early days of Voice Actions with speech-to-text to an increasingly helpful smartphone with AI at its core, Android has continued to evolve over the past 10 years. And thanks to our open-source platform and the passionate community of users, partners and developers, Android has empowered innovations and given people access to the power of mobile technology.

Source: Android


Technology for today’s world: helping you reclaim a sense of balance

“Focus on the user and all else will follow.” It’s one of the first principles Google laid out in the early days, and it’s still a guiding force as we build new products. And these days, focusing on the user means understanding that, for many people, technology has become a source of distractions, rather than a useful tool. Research the Android team released earlier this month indicates that mobile devices can create a sense of habit and obligation that is hard to break, even as people look for ways to create a healthy relationship with technology.

With this in mind, over the past year, teams across Google have turned their attention to building features that help you better understand how you use your devices and apps, disconnect when you want, and create healthy habits for your whole family. Here’s a look at some of the ways we’re helping you reclaim a sense of balance and focus on what matters most to you:

Digital wellbeing data and controls for your Android phone

Android 9 Pie lets you see a dashboard of how you’re spending time on your device, including how many times you’ve unlocked your phone, and how many notifications you’ve received. You can also set time limits on apps, like “30 minutes for Chrome.” When you’re close to the limit, you’ll get a nudge reminding you, and when time is up you won’t be able to use the app anymore (unless you cheat!). You can also try Wind down, which helps you remember to stop scrolling and get to sleep. These features are currently in beta for Pixel users.

Digital ground rules for your family

Every year, more and more kids have access to connected devices: according to our research, 75 percent of kids age 6-12 own or share a tablet, and 52 percent of kids age 6-12 own or share a smartphone. Our Family Link app, which is now available in nearly every country around the world, helps parents better manage their kids’ experience with technology. Family Link lets parents set screen time limits, approve or block certain apps, remote lock devices, and view activity reports so they can stay in the loop on how their kids are exploring.

Last week we shared that in addition to using Family Link for children under 13, parents around the world can use Family Link to supervise their teen’s existing Google Account (see applicable age for a teen in your county).

You choose how you YouTube

It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re watching YouTube videos. That’s part of the fun! But for those times you want to set some boundaries, YouTube has added features to help you understand how much time you’re spending in the app and help you take a break. The new Time Watched profile tells you exactly how much time you’re spending in the app, and you can set a reminder for yourself to take a break once you’ve hit a certain amount of time. We’ve also added the option for you to bundle YouTube notifications into one daily digest. You can even choose what time of day you want to see it.

We’ve always aimed to build products that help you get things done efficiently and free you up to focus on the other things that matter to you—from Search, where our goal has always been to get you an answer as fast as possible, to tools like Smart Reply in Gmail which suggest text for you. That’s more important now than ever, and we’ll keep building with that principle in mind.

The world we live in today is very different from the one when Google started back in 1998. We’re no longer using clunky computers to perform simple searches and send basic emails—with the phones in our pockets, we can accomplish things we couldn’t have come close to doing with ye olde desktop. But as technology becomes increasingly woven into our day-to-day, making sure it’s improving life—instead of distracting from it—is more important than ever. That’s focusing on the user, and that’s what we’re continuing to do.

Source: Android


Expanding Emergency Location Service in Android to the U.S.

Accurately locating someone during an emergency call is critical for reducing response time and can be the difference between life and death. More than 80 percent of emergency calls come from mobile phones, but locating these phones can be challenging as traditional emergency location technologies can fail indoors or have a radius that’s too big to be useful.


In 2016, we announced Emergency Location Service (ELS) in Android. ELS provides a faster, more accurate location to emergency communications centers when an Android user places an emergency call, helping save lives by shortening emergency response times. It provides a more accurate location both indoors and outdoors by using a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi, mobile networks and sensors—the same high-accuracy location you see when using Google Maps.


Over the last two years, we’ve been expanding ELS worldwide; it's now available in 14 countries and provides location to emergency centers for more than 140,000 calls per day. Today we’re announcing the launch of ELS in the U.S. with RapidSOS, T-Mobile and West, to bring more accurate location more quickly to emergency centers.
android emergency location services

How Emergency Location Services in Android works

ELS is supported on 99 percent of Android devices (version 4.0 and above). The ELS service activates where it is supported by your wireless provider or emergency infrastructure provider. We partner with wireless providers and public safety organizations to activate ELS in a country. You don't need to install a separate app, update your OS, or have special hardware to benefit from more accurate location. The location is computed on the device and delivered directly to emergency providers—without passing through Google servers, and only when you explicitly call an emergency number.

Bringing more accurate emergency location to the U.S.

In partnership with emergency technology company RapidSOS, we provide ELS location directly to emergency communications centers through their secure, IP-based data platform. RapidSOS integrates with existing software at emergency centers in the U.S. to provide a faster, more accurate location with ELS. In testing the technology in the U.S., emergency centers have told us ELS has already helped save lives in their jurisdiction, decreasing the average uncertainty radius from 159 meters to 37 meters (from 522 feet to 121 feet). At the Collier County Sheriff's office in Florida, a caller who had given an incorrect address was able to be found thanks to ELS. And in Loudon County, TN, ELS helped emergency responders get to a non-English speaking caller who was struggling to communicate her address.

ELS is also available for Android users on T-Mobile in the U.S. If you’re on T-Mobile’s network and make a call to 911, your Android phone can send your location to the emergency center to help first responders locate you quickly. Wireless providers like T-Mobile have existing ways to share emergency locations with emergency centers, but this integration with ELS will help deliver higher accuracy locations faster than before.

Finally, we’ve already launched ELS in the U.S. Virgin Islands through a partnership with West and a regional wireless provider, Viya. West is an emergency technology company that works directly with wireless providers. For Android users on Viya, our integration with West allows your more accurate location to be delivered more quickly with ELS to emergency centers through existing channels by wireless providers.

Helping users around the world

As we've launched ELS around the world, we've heard about the impact that our more accurate location has made in critical, emergency situations. 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.

In New Zealand, Fire and Emergency received a call from someone who had seen a fire while he was driving along a rural highway. The caller didn’t know where he was on the highway. Using ELS, Fire and Emergency New Zealand was able to locate the caller and the fire, and dispatch a crew to put the fire out.

As we continue to expand ELS in Android in the U.S. and to additional regions and countries, we’re grateful for the opportunity to provide assistance when our users need it most. To learn more, check out our website at https://crisisresponse.google/els.

Source: Android


Helping more families set digital ground rules with Family Link

Parents constantly tell us that they want their kids to experience the best of what tech has to offer–while also developing a healthy relationship with technology. Giving parents the tools they need to make the choices that are right for their families is critical, and we take our role here very seriously. Last year we launched the Family Link app to help parents stay in the loop while their kids are using Android devices. Family Link helps parents keep an eye on screen time, manage the apps their kids can use, and more. Over the coming days, we’ll make Family Link available to more families, on more devices, and in nearly every country in the world. 

Family Link can now help parents with teens manage technology

Family Link originally launched for kids under-13, but we’ve heard overwhelmingly from parents that the app is still useful as their kids enter their teen years. This week, parents around the world will be able to use Family Link to supervise their teen’s existing Google Account for the first time (see applicable age for a teen in your country). There are some differences when supervising a teen’s account with Family Link. For example, teens are free to turn off supervision if they choose to, but we let parents know. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual family to have a conversation and decide what’s right for them.

Better Chromebook support for kids and teens

The need for supervision doesn’t end with mobile devices. Now, Family Link is available for Chromebook for kids and teens, allowing parents to manage website restrictions and account settings for their child from their device. Soon, parents will also be able to set screen time limits and manage the apps their child can use on Chromebooks.

Continuing to grow together

With more parents in more places able to use Family Link, we want to hear your thoughts on how we’re doing. If you want to share your ideas with us, just open the Family Link app, click the menu in the top left corner and tap “Help and feedback.”

Source: Android