Google seems to be in the works to introduce a satellite-based SOS feature in its Google Messages app, allowing users to send emergency texts in areas without traditional cell signals. This innovation, although still in the early stages, is intriguing. The code within the app hints at collaboration with Garmin’s emergency service, which operates via the Iridium satellite network. This network boasts worldwide coverage, promising a signal “anywhere on Earth.” However, there’s a catch: Garmin’s service requires a monthly subscription fee of $15 on their devices.
Drawing inspiration from Apple’s emergency SOS messaging introduced with iPhone 14, Google’s approach might differ. Apple’s feature requires pointing the device towards a satellite, followed by sending prewritten emergency responses. Although free for a limited time, Apple’s service might eventually come with a cost. In contrast, Google’s implementation could be available in over 150 countries, leveraging the extensive Iridium network. However, this isn’t guaranteed, given Apple’s current service is limited to just 14 countries.
Notably, Google isn’t alone in exploring satellite services. Qualcomm is also working on SOS messaging via Iridium, with support from brands like Honor, Motorola, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, and more. While some speculate that Google’s recent development in Google Messages could be related to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Satellite feature, Google has expressed interest in bringing satellite internet service to Android 14. This indicates a broader scope.
Should Google successfully launch satellite SOS across its Pixel and Samsung devices, it would necessitate developing a robust infrastructure. This early stage exploration in Google Messages could be a stepping stone towards a comprehensive emergency technology solution. While Google’s version is in its infancy, the potential to offer life-saving assistance even in the most remote corners of the world is an exciting development that could make a real difference.