Google Messages may soon support emergency SOS messages via satellite

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

What you need to know

  • A placeholder UI has been spotted in the Google Messages app, which previews its upcoming satellite connectivity support for sending emergency SOS messages.
  • It appears that users will be able to customize an SOS message instead of simply sending a preset phrase.
  • Google has already announced that Android 14 will enable smartphones to communicate directly via satellite connectivity.

Certain smartphones that will run Android 14 in the future will be able to send text off the grid, and a Google executive confirmed as much last year. Now, a new discovery previews certain UI elements of the upcoming feature in the Google Messages app.

Courtesy of Neïl Rahmouni on X (formerly Twitter), we now have a glimpse of what emergency SOS messages over satellite will look like on Android.

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Android sleuth Mishaal Rahman notes in a tweet that the interface shown in the image is only a placeholder for the time being, suggesting that satellite-based emergency SOS support will be an integral part of Messages rather than a separate app.

The placeholder elements show off a messaging interface that's not unlike your regular conversations. There's a compose box that makes it clear you're sending a "Satellite message" and a character counter on the right side. This suggests that the feature will limit how many words you can send when typing an emergency SOS message.

A placeholder interface for an upcoming satellite connectivity support for Google Messages

(Image credit: Neïl Rahmouni / X)

That limitation makes sense, as typical SOS messages have fewer characters than normal SMS. Nonetheless, Messages' implementation of satellite-enabled messages seems more user-friendly than Apple's Emergency SOS feature since you can personalize the text you're sending instead of choosing from a few pre-written messages.

On the other hand, Emergency SOS, which debuted with the iPhone 14 series, restricts users to pre-determined text with no option to personalize their own message.

It's not surprising to see Google preparing to include support for emergency SOS over satellite in Messages. Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google's senior vice president of platforms and ecosystems, confirmed in September of last year that Google was planning to introduce satellite connectivity to the next version of Android.

At this moment, it's not clear which type or brand of Android phones will pick up support for satellite connectivity, but the feature certainly requires certain modem hardware to function, as per Rahman, so not every Android 14 device will be able to include this feature.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.

  • fuzzylumpkin
    AC News said:
    Google seems to be getting ready to support sending emergency SOS messages via satellite connectivity in the Messages app.

    Google Messages may soon support emergency SOS messages via satellite : Read more
    Let's just hope it's a bit more reliable than RCS.