Google brings 911 RCS texting capabilities to Messages across the US

Google Messages left-panel menu
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google states it will start "gradually rolling out" 911 texting capabilities through RCS on Android later "this winter."
  • Users can soon text 911 emergency services and see when they begin responding while also sending images and videos to help them.
  • This feature will join the likes of Fall and Crash Detection on Android.

Google is bringing a useful emergency services feature to Messages that lets users contact the appropriate authorities through RCS.

According to a press release, Google has partnered with RapidSOS to bring 911 texting capabilities to Messages through RCS-enabled chats. Contacting data centers through this method will let users "confirm the delivery" of their emergency requests and see when authorities are actively responding to them. Google hopes this removes the guesswork when it comes to wondering if 911 received your text.

Moreover, RCS-enabled chats allow users to send high-quality images and videos to 911, which could help them understand your situation better. Lastly, location sharing becomes possible through Google's partnership with RapidSOS as SMS texts, the old way of texting authorities, didn't have this capability.

Data from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shows that only 53% of 911 centers in the U.S. can accept text messages as communication.

Google announced today (June 6) that it will bring its RCS to 911 feature to "every 911 agency in the United States" for free. Companies involved are said to begin rolling out this new feature to call centers across the States later "this winter."

RapidSOS recently debuted many new features designed to tackle public safety involving messaging, multimedia, and its HARMONY AI copilot for emergency response.

Brian Fontes, president of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) stated, "For too long we've asked our first responders to manage millions of emergencies with little more than voice connection. I'm excited to see the paradigm be transformed for 911 agencies across the United States."

Google prepares to bring 911 RCS texting capabilities to Messages later this year.

(Image credit: Google)

On the other hand, Google adds that it will continue to hone its efforts to improve access to emergency centers through RCS. The company has hopes to make RCS the "standard for emergency services everywhere."

This new capability will arrive for Android devices later this year, with Google's eyes set on the winter season.

As most message users might be aware, RCS helps keep texts private between us and the other person. With this modern texting solution joining 911 centers for emergency communications, Google sees this as a way of building upon our security and personal safety. The company has already rolled out other features to connect Android users to the authorities, such as Fall Detection on the Pixel Watch and Crash Detection on Pixels.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.

  • ad47uk
    I am in the U.K and I don't think we have any SMS emergency services, so I doubt very much if the RCS version will come here., would it be trustworthy?

    Our emergency number is 999, that is from the days of the old dial phones, makes it easier to dial when it is dark. Also have 112, which is something the E.U did I think, to make it easier for people from other countries to remember.
    Myself, if you are going to another country, then you make sure you know the emergency numbers, also saying that, 112 would be easier I suppose on a keypad phone, but even those are a dying breed.