Google is finally addressing the spike in emergency calls due to Android devices


  • Google has updated its Personal Safety app to require a “touch and hold” step to send a call for emergency services, addressing a spike in false 911 calls from Android phones.
  • The emergency SOS feature has been present in phone builds since Android 12, but device manufacturers had the option to activate it by default, leading to accidental calls.
  • While the update may reduce accidental calls, the new process of contacting emergency services through touch-and-hold could be seen as a drawback, especially in time-sensitive situations, potentially complicating matters for those in need.

If you’ve ever experienced an unexpected emergency in the digital age, you likely know the benefits of having a phone on you in these moments. An immediate connection to the outside world can be the difference between instant emergency care and an increasingly severe situation. However, Google may have made it too easy to send out a call for emergency services. After a reported spike in these calls, the situation has since been remedied.

As noted by Mishaal Rahman in an update posted to X (formerly known as Twitter), Google updated its Personal Safety app — the tool that allows you to easily contact emergency services — back in June 2023. Now, it’s being observed that a “touch and hold” step is required in order to send a call for help. This means that, after pressing your power button at least 5 times, you need to touch and hold a button on your display for 3 seconds. Doing so initiates the call to emergency personnel. If you’ve already set up the emergency SOS feature on your device, you can now switch to this mode of contact.

All phone builds since Android 12 have required an emergency SOS feature, but Google has always left it up to device

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Google Wallet finally lets users share boarding and event passes

Google Wallet logo on smartphone next to credit cards and cash Stock photo 9

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority


  • Google teased months ago that it would add the ability to share certain passes with other users in Google Wallet.
  • That feature is now starting to roll out.
  • The sharing feature is available for boarding and event passes.

About three months ago, Google mentioned that users would be able to share “valuables” in Google Wallet. It was then discovered on the app’s support page that valuables referred to passes. Now the feature is starting to roll out in the app.

As discovered by 9to5Google, Google Wallet is starting to let users share boarding passes through links. The feature is also said to be appearing for event passes as well.

If the feature is available, you should see the share icon to the left of the overflow menu. When you tap the icon, you’ll then be greeted by a notification stating, “You can’t undo sharing of this pass. Once you share this pass, the recipient can forward it to anyone.” This dialog can be turned off by hitting “Don’t show again.”

Continuing on, sharing will bring up a system share sheet and generate a link for you to share. The person who receives the link can tap on the URL, which will then open up the Wallet app, where the pass can be saved.

In an interview with The Verge back in July, Google spokesperson Leismer Schulten confirmed that sharing would come to the Wallet app. At the time, Schulten provided boarding and event passes as examples, a remark that leaves the door open for the possibility of the feature being used for other things down the line. He also stated that it will be up to the companies that issue these passes through Google Wallet to enable sharing.

As the support page makes

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Google Assistant is finally getting the Bard upgrade we’ve been wanting

What you need to know

  • Google has announced that it is bringing Bard to Google Assistant.
  • Soon, users will be able to interact with other Google services while using Assistant. 
  • This is made possible by the generative AI powering Bard while doing so with a conversational interface.
  • Assistant with Bard is expected to be available “in the coming months” on both iOS and Android.

Following the explosion in popularity of ChatGPT, Google answered with its own AI-powered chatbot in the form of Bard, and “in the coming months,” Bard will be integrated into Google Assistant. 

This announcement comes alongside the Pixel 8 lineup, which has quite a few AI-powered features of its own. But thanks to “Assistant with Bard,” you can finally ditch the Home Screen shortcut to use Google’s generative AI on your phone. 

Google Assistant with Bard email demo

(Image credit: Google)

According to Google, you’ll be able to “interact with it through text, voice, or images,” which is essentially the same way that use Assistant now. The biggest difference is, at least the hope is, that Assistant will be more responsive, more conversational, and more personal. 

Recently, Google released a big update for Bard, allowing it to tap into your other Google services. In doing so, you can ask Bard to look up a certain document in Google Docs, tell it to show you specific flights using Flights, or even have Bard show you your emails. 

It’s all part of Google’s methodical plan to integrate generative AI into more places, as we’ve seen with other features such as “Help Me Write.” There’s even an entirely new Search experience, powered by AI, which is continuing to make its way to more users.

Assistant with Bard Coming Soon

(Image credit: Google)

What we’re hoping for is that Google just updates the existing Assistant experience on the best Android phones (and

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Google is finally giving the Play Store the tablet and foldable redesign it deserves

Android apps for tablets and foldables are finally on Google’s radar

Both Android and the Play Store have undergone considerable visual changes in the last few months to accommodate the larger screens of foldables and some of the top Android tablets. The Play Store’s revamped multi-column UI now better uses the extra display real estate on devices like the Pixel Tablet, with categories now occupying the left panel. Google is doing a lot more to improve your experience with the Play Store on big-screen devices and is even bringing a fresh interface for the search function.


If you own a Pixel Fold or any recent Android tablet/foldable, you should already have the new Play Store design that we first saw last year. Individual app pages now come with rich visual elements like more prominent background images — and videos, in case game developers want to showcase their immersive gameplay. Details on these pages are further divided into two columns so that you can simultaneously explore any app alternatives without going back to the previous page. Even the dedicated Games and Apps tabs feature options that have proper screenshots for different device types.

But a more important aspect of these tablet-facing changes is how the Play Store ranks the apps when you look them up. The search results now focus on the apps that meet Google’s big screen guidelines so that they don’t appear letterboxed or have weird resizing issues in either orientation. This applies to the Play Store’s curated lists like Editor’s Choice apps and games as well. On the flip side, Google will also start warning you if tablet apps cross the 8% threshold of user reports on app crashes and unresponsiveness.


While many of these features are already available for a few foldables and tablets, the Play Store

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Google Weather for Android finally getting Material You redesign

Android’s Weather experience in 2021 got a Google Material Theme redesign just as Material You was widely rolling out to other first-party apps. Google Weather is now set for a redesign with Material You elements.

The experience, which is powered by the Google app, today features three top tabs (Today, Tomorrow, 10 days) that you can scroll through for more information. At a glance, each screen is designed to provide a high-level overview. 

This redesign, tweeted by a Googler this morning, appears to leverage a single main feed. It starts with a pill-shaped search bar that notes the location being shown. It’s gray in the screenshot with proper support for the system dark theme likely. 

Underneath is “Now” with the current temperature, condition, high/low, and feels like. This is displayed on top of a Froggy illustration that’s somewhat lacking in detail given the width.

L-R: Current, current, redesign

A scrollable “Hourly forecast” is next, while you then get a “10-day forecast” that includes the high/low. Hopefully you can tap on each one, including “Today,” to see other stats like Wind and Sunrise & sunset (if that’s not further down the page).

This experience was rather reminiscent of the Wear OS Weather app, which is already quite nice, in its organization. Moving to a single feed is a good call. Hopefully, it will have a large screen experience as well. 

We’ve called for the need of a weather app made by the Pixel team to improve the experience on Google phones, but this is a start. As evidenced by the status bar, this might still be in development internally, but it’s a good sign that Google is already dogfooding with employees. 

More on Google Weather:

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My favorite public transit app is finally great again

If you’re someone like me living in a big city where a personal vehicle isn’t a must-have, a reliable and intelligent public transit app is vital. Over the years of searching for my preferred service, I’ve landed on Citymapper for most of my routes. The app isn’t perfect by all means, but it’s the closest to no-frills I can get here in Berlin.


Citymapper has long offered an optional premium tier with additional perks like voice navigation for your headphones, but over recent months, the company paywalled a few more, previously free options like single-mode or mixed-use transit (if you only want to take buses or use your bike to get to the subway, for example), on top of introducing ads to the free tier.

While the ads aren’t going anywhere for the free tier, the company has announced Citymapper 11, which is making all features free to use again all while halving the price of the premium tier, now only needed if you want to get rid of ads.

All the routing options are now available for everyone in the bottom row

This means that anyone using Citymapper now has access to a lot more routing options. Mixed routes can be used to combine cycling and e-scooting with buses and trains, the Walk Less option is great for rain or heat, and simple routes may take longer but involve fewer transfers. On top of this, voice instructions make it easy to follow your path without having to keep your eyes glued to your phone, which is helpful while cycling or when you need to be aware of your surroundings.

While iOS users are getting access to dynamic Live Activities notifications first introduced with iOS 16, allowing them

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