There are quite a few new features (and some removed functionality) present in the first beta of Android Q — we've documented around 50 major changes already. There are also plenty of smaller tweaks that don't warrant separate coverage, so we're going over them here. Without further ado, here all of the smaller changes in Android Q Beta 1.
One of the major limitations of Google Voice since its inception is that you can't call 911 or other emergency service numbers. Most VoIP services share this problem, since it's usually impossible for responders to obtain your exact location. Google is working on addressing this, but not for regular users.
Safety is a major concern of ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft. In an attempt to make its riders feel more secure, Uber has added a direct method to call 911 via its app in the US. The company has tested the function out in India, but it's now live for everyone stateside. Additionally, these 911 calls will come with location tracking in select markets. These are both part of new Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi's initiative to improve the company's safety record.
When you call 911 from a landline phone, that number is tied to a physical address. It's easy for emergency responders to get to the right place. However, cell phones can be anywhere, and the carrier-based location reports sent to call centers are not always good enough. Google is working on a system that would provide faster, more accurate locations to 911 operators, and its first test reportedly went well.
It's been a busy month so far for Asus, what with the launch of the myriad different phones in the ZenFone 4 family and the Project Tango equipped ZenFone AR going on sale. With the new products comes a new software skin nobody asked for, ZenUI 4.0, and one of its key features has been released as a standalone app.
Over the past couple of years, we've seen many iterations on the personal safety app, but the gist has always remained the same: choose a few persons you trust to share your location with all the time, or at least when you feel the need or they request it. Now Google is releasing its own official take on the matter, Trusted Contacts, and part of me is wishing this app or its functionality at least becomes integrated in all Android phones from now on.
EMERGENCY came to Android more than 3 years ago in March of 2013. Back then, the Xperia Z was the hottest phone on the block, the Galaxy S4 was starting its pre-orders, and Holo was the coolest design language we could imagine. But EMERGENCY was rather well received thanks to its replay value. With 13 disaster scenarios and 18 units under your command, you could manage your resources differently to try to save as much lives and fight as many terrorists as you could, and thus control the situation better and faster.
The game has seen several updates on Android since its release, though none in the past 8 or so months.
You may be wary of making your location available to apps and services on Android, but that uneasiness goes away in an emergency situation. If you call emergency services, you want them to know exactly where you are, and now Android has the tools to make that happen. Well, if you live in the UK or Estonia. Those are the first two countries with support for the new Emergency Location Service.
Shortly after ISIS-affiliated gunmen killed over a hundred people in multiple attacks in Paris on Friday evening, Google allowed users of its Hangouts chat platform to make free VOIP calls to France from anywhere. Later this weekend American telecom companies have followed suit. Carriers Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint are allowing their customers to call French telephone numbers without incurring international calling charges, and Skype is allowing free SkypeOut (VOIP-to-standard phone number) calls into France.