Someone is not breathing. You panic, you grab your phone and you call for an ambulance.
Or is it?
Unfortunately, if you use an Android phone, you may not be. For example, you can instead request medical transportation that is not authorized to respond to emergencies.
As Idaho heads of state have recently reported, Android users using voice commands can tell their smartphone to "call an ambulance," but that phrase does not activate all Androids to call the US 911 emergency number. The newspaper has not specified which Android models 911 cannot choose.
However, tell Siri to call an ambulance and the voice assistant calls 911. That is a relief. But when some Android phones get that voice command, they get a list of ambulance companies instead. Alternatively, they can respond with a Google search that returns a blog post, for example, when it is appropriate to call an ambulance, states the statesman.
Dispatchers for injury care EMS – a company from Boise, Idaho that transports patients in its ambulances, including hospitals and nursing homes – told the news that they received a steady stream of calls intended to go to 911.
Perhaps the reason for this is that Injury Care EMS is the first company to appear on a Google list of ambulance companies in the Boise region. Personal injury to EMS owner Richard Radnovich and his coordinators told the statesman that they received the misplaced calls several times a week.
Rich Wright, an EMT student and the community contact for Injury Care, told the statesman that such a recent call came from a mother whose son drank too much. She tried to get paramedics to help him, he said:
It was a mother who panicked and tried to do the best she could to bring an ambulance to her son, and we happened to be the company that had called her phone.
Dispatchers tell such callers to hang up and call 911, but even the few seconds needed to tell them that, and for the callers to hang up and call the right number, it takes valuable time during an emergency. It takes even more time if the caller is confused and the coordinator has to explain it more thoroughly.
Life saver Siri
We have seen several cases in which Siri was used to call emergency services and was subsequently credited with saving human lives, all because valuable time was saved in obtaining medical assistance to people in need.
For example, in 2017 there was a situation in which a four-year-old saved the life of his mother by telling Siri to choose 999 – the number of the British emergency services – to save & # 39; the life of Mummy & # 39 ;.
A year before, an Australian mother rushed to the nursery when a baby monitor showed that her 1-year-old was no longer breathing, dropped her phone while turning on the light. She still managed to tell Siri to call for help while performing CPR. Both she and her husband gave up the few precious seconds Siri gave them to possibly make the difference.
The outcome of that specific story is one of the benefits of the fact that at that time – recent iPhones had the ability to always listen to commands. That feature came into being in iOS 9, when Apple enabled the activation of the built-in personal assistant for the sound of your voice, instead of waiting for you to hold down the start button.
A matter of public safety
Those are some of the ways in which Siri is credited with saving lives. Google & # 39; s voice assistant? Not so much. At least it's not in headlines about saving mummies or babies, but that certainly doesn't mean it didn't happen.
Radnovich at least presented the statesman because he sees the issue as a matter of public security. He also extended his hand to Google, but neither he nor the newspaper received much satisfaction from the company.
From an email sent by a Google spokeswoman to the statesman:
The supported search query for the Google Assistant is & # 39; Hello Google, call 911. & # 39; This calls the Assistant to call 911. Ask the Assistant to call & # 39; an ambulance & # 39; is not currently supported and we do not encourage the use of that voice command.
OK … so, can't Google, like, rewrite the code so that the "call an ambulance" voice command triggers a call to 911, as Wright suggests?
Sorry Google, but your failure to do this is not calculated.
We cannot tell Android users which 911 models call when you ask for an ambulance or which do not. So instead of Google changing things so that the voice command triggers a 911 call, please try to remember that it is safest to call 911 in the US, or say Google Voice Assistant to call 911, not an ambulance.
Heaven knows what you get if you don't.