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Is Google Changing How You Call 911 on an Android?

By Dmitry Maslov|Tuesday August 27, 2019

Voice commands on your Android could mean the difference between life and death. Consider emergency scenarios when you’re unable to dial 911. You could be unable to reach your cell phone after a fall, have lost mobility because of a stroke, or administering CPR.

For Android users, Google is the engine processing voice commands on your device. However, like dialing 911 with Siri, Google has its own particulars about making 911 calls.

An emergency phone call may be one of the most important calls you make, and it’s no time to face technological glitches. Learn the six essential facts about using Google on your Android to dial 911.

call 911 android voice command

1. How to Call 911 Using Android’s Voice Command

You’re probably already used to Android commands such as “Ok Google, call Mom.” The same functionality applies to emergency phone calls.

To get help in an emergency, say, “Ok Google, call 911.”

With this command, Google will use your phone’s native calling app to connect you with an emergency dispatcher.

2. Using the Wrong Google Command Causes Problems

Users have reported a glitch when using a Google voice command to get help in an emergency. The problem is that the command, “Hey Google, call an ambulance,” doesn’t have the same effect as, “Hey Google, call 911.”

For example, one woman made a panicked 4am phone call needing an ambulance because her boyfriend was unresponsive. Because she initiated the call by saying, “Hey Google, call an ambulance,” the device displayed a list of local ambulance companies, and she connected to one without thinking. Unfortunately, private ambulance companies aren’t first responders and had to instruct her to hang up and dial 911. Making multiple calls cost valuable time while leaving the caller confused about what went wrong.

This wasn’t an isolated incident, and ambulance companies report receiving multiple emergency calls each week.

According to a Google representative, “The supported query for the Google Assistant is, ‘Hey Google, call 911.’ This will trigger the Assistant to call 911. Asking the Assistant to ‘call an ambulance’ isn’t currently supported, and we don’t encourage use of that voice command.”

3. How Does Emergency Access Differ Between Android and iPhone?

Android and iPhone devices both allow you to make hands-free emergency calls. However, the command options differ between the two devices.

On an iPhone, users can reach emergency services by saying, “Hey Siri, call 911” or, “Hey Siri, call an ambulance.” On the other hand, using Google on your Android only supports the command, “Hey Google, call 911.”

emergency 911 call using google

4. Google’s Voice Processing is Changing on Android Phones

Android users could start to see even more changes in how Google’s voice commands function. Search Engine Journal recently reported that Google is replacing traditional voice search on Android phones with Google Assistant.

From the user perspective, Android users will see very little change, still interacting with their device via “Hey Google” voice commands. However, on the back end, by moving all Android voice command to be routed through Google Assistant, the AI has the potential to grow even smarter at knowing what its users want.

The rollout is happening gradually, as Google consolidates its legacy voice function into Google Assistant.
android advanced 911 Ooma Telo

5. Ooma’s Advanced 911 Provides Even More Emergency Support

Ooma Telo’s advanced 911 service works across multiple connected devices. It’s available when using an Ooma-connected home phone, when using Ooma’s free calling app on your mobile device, or when paired with a smart home device.

Ooma’s first advantage is that it adds landline-level accuracy to your emergency calls. Geolocation problems of some mobile 911 calls can have some responders scrambling to find the emergency site. In contrast, Ooma automatically transmits your self-provisioned physical address to dispatchers (where available), saving valuable time when you need it the most.

Additionally, Ooma’s Remote 911 helps you respond to an emergency at home, even when you’re not there. For example, if you’re at the office when there’s a problem at home, placing a 911 call via the Ooma app will be processed as if your call was coming from your home phone.

Ooma’s advanced 911 service also includes 911 Alerts to automatically notify an emergency number if a 911 call is placed from an Ooma-connected line. An emergency isn’t the time to be out of the loop, and Ooma’s 911 Alerts can keep you informed when it matters the most.

Ooma’s 911 Alerts can be sent either as a text message or as an email, and they can even be set up to include a customized message. For example, you can include medication information, the phone number of the family doctor, and any other resources that can help you act quickly during an emergency. See Dialing 911 for Emergency Services to learn more about Ooma’s 911 service.

Learn more about how Ooma Telo home phone service can help you stay connected to what matters most.

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Should you use paid ads or SEO to boost your business’s revenue? Even professional marketers find it difficult to choose. A 2020 survey of 1,000 marketers found that 90% favored SEM while 87% considered SEO to be effective. Find out how to put these strategies into place. Let’s take a closer look at how search engine marketing (SEM), local SEO and content marketing can bring you more customers.

How do search engines like Google boost your revenue?

If you could knock on a customer’s door at the exact moment they thought “I need a plumber,” you would have a very high chance of earning a sale. When you use SEO, you have the ability to appear when customers have a need for your service. For example, if your website is well optimized for a keyword such as “Atlanta plumber,” you could get a steady stream of hot leads coming to your small business from organic search results. That’s good news! Unfortunately, there is also some bad news. Many other companies know the value of SEO, paid ads and local searches. They have invested in creating great websites and have an ad campaign in place. As a result, it is not easy to attract new customers from search engines. Fortunately, there are a few simple tips you can use to get better results.

What are the benefits of pay-per-click ads in mobile search results?

If you need more customers this week, local SEO is not the right strategy. Instead, you should use a pay-per-click (PPC) ad. Whether you use Google Ads or Bing Ads, the process is the same. You only pay when somebody clicks on your ads. Search ads are useful because they only appear when somebody enters a relevant search. For instance, you can place ads for “landscaping service” and only appear in front of people who are within 20 miles of your business. Your customer might be looking at his lawn right now and want a quote from a landscaper. By having a PPC ad, you can get a call from that lead right away. The best part about search ads on Google and Bing Ads is that you can be up and running in less than 24 hours. The trade-off is that you can end up spending a lot of money while you learn the ropes. If you do not have the time to develop these skills, you may decide to outsource search ads and PPC advertising to specialized consultants and agencies. Tip: Once you start running PPC ads, you might get a lot of calls. If you don’t manage those calls effectively, you will miss sales. Use a phone system with extensions (e.g. dial 1 to request a quote, dial 2 for customer service) to make sure you never miss a sales opportunity.

Use landing pages to make life easier for your customers

To get more leads, create landing pages that make it easy for customers to take the next action. A landing page is the webpage you see after clicking a link or an ad. For the best results, your landing page should match your ad. When an ad offers a coupon for $10 off, that coupon code should be featured on the landing page. If you want people to call you, put your phone number front and center in an easy-to-read font. If you need them to fill in a contact form, make that form easy to read and ask for minimal information (e.g. name, phone and email address). There are plenty of landing page tools on the market, such as Unbounce, Instapage and Leadpages that make it easy to create landing pages.

Content marketing: the best way to get long-term traffic to your website

Relying exclusively on search ads is not a wise strategy. After all, you may need to pause your campaigns if you run out of advertising budget. When you pause those campaigns, your ads will stop appearing. With local SEO, you can run a campaign this year and continue to receive leads for years into the future. To achieve those long term results, we recommend using content marketing. Content marketing is the practice of creating content that answers questions. For example, if you run a car dealership, you might create a video or article that explains how to rotate tires quickly. If you create high-quality content, you could be rewarded with traffic to your website when people search for tips in a search engine.

SEM vs. PPC: Each has a role to play in your digital marketing

You can bring more traffic to your website with great content and optimizing your landing pages. However, that is just scratching the surface. For better results, you need an SEM strategy. SEM (i.e. search engine marketing) is a way to organize all of your digital marketing tactics into a coherent strategy. Let’s walk through a simple example. You run a dental office and focus on cosmetic procedures to help your patients look great. Your goal: attract more cosmetic dental patients because they are the most profitable. You put yourself in the shoes of a potential dental patient. What are their questions and concerns about your small business? They may be worried about cost, pain and whether you have a convenient schedule for their needs. Now that you have defined your goal and who you want to attract, create your search ads and local SEO.

Start your search ads campaign: Start your SEM campaign

Using Google Ads, you decide to create ads based on keywords like “cosmetic dentist” and “cosmetic dentist New York.” In your ads, you mention that you offer procedures on Saturday and Sunday. That’s a great way to appeal to patients who have a full schedule.

Local SEO

From an SEO perspective, you decide to start small by answering the top 10 most common questions new patients ask you. In each article, you make sure to use a few relevant keywords. For example, a yoga studio in Chicago might focus on the following keywords: yoga classes Chicago, yoga Chicago and hot yoga Chicago. Once these articles are published, ask your friends to link to your company. If your business sponsors local charities and clubs, ask those companies to link to your website. That is an easy win to get more traffic to your website.

Get started today by choosing one strategy

When you join the ranks of digital marketers, it is tough to get started. There are so many different tools and strategies you can use. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, we recommend choosing either local SEO or search ads as your first focus. After you work on that focus for two to three months, you can evaluate your results and decide whether you want to expand to other strategies.