If you’re like me, you might ask your friends or family to text you when they get home safely, especially if they’re driving at home at night during a storm or a particularly dark evening. Maybe, following a news report of a disaster somewhere, you might be worried about loved ones being safe in the way of harm. Or, perhaps, you’re the one who wants to alert someone of your status. Google has a new app for that.
It’s called “Trusted Contacts,” and it allows you to add and follow specific people and see whether they’re safe or not.
“Your trusted contacts will be able to see your activity status — whether you’ve moved around recently and are online — to quickly know if you’re OK,” Google explains. “If you find yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe, you can share your actual location with your trusted contacts. And if your trusted contacts are really worried about you, they can request to see your location. If everything’s fine, you can deny the request. But if you’re unable to respond within a reasonable timeframe, your location is shared automatically and your loved ones can determine the best way to help you out. Of course, you can stop sharing your location or change your trusted contacts whenever you want.”
Walk a friend home with Trusted Contacts
Trusted Contacts can allow someone to walk you home virtually, too. Perhaps you’re heading home from the library late at night. Call up a friend and ask him or her to follow along in Trusted Contacts to make sure you get where you’re going. There doesn’t need to be a direct threat, either. Google provided an example of someone who might use Trusted Contacts during a hike, the app helping to provide GPS coordinates even when the phone might not have a cellular connection.
As Google says, this is purely opt-in, so nobody will follow you just for the heck of it. You’ll need to allow them. I love the idea of this app and hope it’s used to keep people safe. Android users can find it in the Google Play Store now, it’s unclear if there will be an iOS version.