Google’s Pixel smartphones have launched a series of useful software updates with perhaps the most striking being a new safety check for when you are out alone.
Google announced on Monday that the Personal Safety app on Pixel 4 is now available on all Pixel devices. It also said the car crash-detection feature is also coming to Pixel 3 (not available in all countries).
There can’t be many people who haven’t experienced anxiety walking or jogging alone at night or at dusk. Also, many of us would have been told by police to be careful of walking alone after a nasty crime in the area. People have also fallen into difficulty when appearing lost.
Pixel’s new feature, safety check, is a welcome step forward.
“Safety check schedules a check-in from the app at a later time. For example if you’re about to go on a run or hike alone, safety check will make sure you made it back safely. If you don’t respond to the scheduled check-in, the app will alert your emergency contacts. In the event that you need immediate help or are in a dangerous situation, emergency sharing notifies all of your emergency contacts and shares your real-time location through Google Maps so they can send help or find you,” Google said in a blog post.
In essence, you set a time for when you want it to check-in on you. When that time comes, safety check takes over your smartphone screen and asks for your status. You can dismiss the prompt and say you’re okay, start sharing your location with emergency contacts immediately or dial emergency services. If there’s no response within a minute, safety check will automatically notify your emergency contacts and provide your location on Google Maps. There’s no option for it to automatically call emergency services — likely to prevent false positives.
“Even with the small possibility of accidental emergency texts to friends, this seems like a very useful safety measure. There’s no equivalent for safety check built into iOS, and it’s a continuation of Google expanding further into the area of personal safety after introducing car-crash detection last year,” The Verge reported.
Google Pixel’s Personal Safety app also allows users to enable crisis alerts that provide notifications about natural disasters or other public emergencies.
Google Pixel has also improved its Bedtime mode, making it easier to customise how and when you turn on that option.
“Based on your bedtime schedule, you can choose to have it turn on automatically or after your phone is plugged in to charge. You can also add Bedtime mode to your phone’s Quick Settings panel to instantly turn it on or off with a single tap. And if you need a few more minutes, you can pause Bedtime mode without needing to adjust your schedule. Bedtime mode is available on all devices with Digital Wellbeing and parental controls settings,” Google said in another blog.
In Pixel’s Clock, to help you get to bed and fall asleep, you’ll receive a reminder before bedtime and an option to play calming sounds from Calm, Spotify, YouTube Music and more. For those with Digital Wellbeing installed, you can pair with Bedtime mode to limit interruptions while you sleep.
“And if you happen to stay on your phone later than planned, you can see how much time you’re spending and which apps you’ve used after your set bedtime,” Google said.
Another improvement worth noting is for people who often use Google’s Recorder app. Now, you can ask Google Assistant to start recordings (or search from your existing recordings). Even better is that you can automatically get transcripts of your recordings in Google Docs.
Google also said it has improved the adaptive battery functionality.
“Now, Adaptive Battery on Pixel 2 and newer devices can predict when your battery will run out and further reduce background activity to keep your Pixel powered longer.”