Google, T-Mobile Tackle 911 Call Problem

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Emergency call operators will soon have an easier time pinpointing the whereabouts of Android phone users. Google has struck a deal with T-Mobile to pipe location data from cellphones with Android operating systems in the US to emergency call centers. The move is a sign that smartphone operating system providers and carriers are taking steps to improve the quality of location data they send when customers call 911. Locating callers has become a growing problem for 911 operators as cellphone usage has proliferated. Wireless devices now make 80% or more of the 911 calls placed in some parts of the US.

While landlines deliver an exact address, cellphones typically register only an estimated location provided by wireless carriers that can be as wide as a few hundred yards and imprecise indoors. That has meant that while many popular applications like Uber can pinpoint users, 911 call takers can’t always do so. Technology giants such as Google and Apple that run phone operating systems need a direct link to the technology used within emergency call centers to transmit precise location data. Most T-Mobile customers with Android operating systems will now send location data from Google’s emergency location services via their carrier. In markets where RapidSOS is integrated into emergency call centers, Android users will send the information through the upstart company.

Google, T-Mobile Tackle 911 Call Problem Google launches Emergency Location Service in US with T-Mobile (Fierce)