In our day and age, simply listing our emergency contacts on various forms isn’t quite enough to keep us safe. But luckily, our day and age happens to be a digital one filled with digital tools seeking to provide a solution to that particular problem.
The latest such tool comes from Google, which has just released an app called Trusted Contacts that allows you to share your location with your emergency contacts with a single touch.
“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 order to use the app, simply install it on your Android device (iOS users will have to use the web interface until the iPhone-compatible version comes out), then assign “trusted” status to selected contacts. Those folks will be able to see if you’ve been moving around and whether your phone is online, and if you feel unsafe, you can start sharing your specific location.
Alternatively, if you’ve 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 location will be automatically shared.
While other apps 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.”