Google Messages Will Support 911 RCS Texts to Improve Emergency Chats

RCS texting will start offering support for 911 emergency services, bringing read receipts, location sharing and media messaging capabilities.

Mike Sorrentino Senior Editor
Mike Sorrentino is a Senior Editor for Mobile, covering phones, texting apps and smartwatches -- obsessing about how we can make the most of them. Mike also keeps an eye out on the movie and toy industry, and outside of work enjoys biking and pizza making.
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911 conversation in Google Messages.

Google Messages is adding the ability to text 911 over RCS, which when enabled would provide read receipts and media messaging with emergency services.


While you can already text emergency services like 911 over SMS, Google is announcing Thursday that RCS texting to 911 services is on its way starting this winter. When enabled, this will allow for enhanced features like read receipts and media messaging to emergency services.

Google is working with the RapidSOS emergency technology company on this rollout, which would be accessible from the Google Messages app on Android. Similar to personal RCS conversations, an RCS text with 911 would allow for sharing precise locations along with sending photos and videos of an active situation.

The rollout could vary, as a Google representative clarified that emergency call centers will have to adopt this functionality when it becomes available. Such adoption would be at no cost to emergency contact centers.

Thursday's announcement pertains just to Android phones that use Google Messages since RCS is on its way to Apple's iPhone this year, which will hopefully mean similar emergency contact features will make their way to Apple's phones as well.