Pixel and Emergency Number Dialing: Is Google Leaving Money on the Table?

November 25, 2022

I read “Very Scary Issue Dialing 911 on Google Pixel 6 Cell Phones.” The write up may not be representative because it relates data from an undefined sample. The assertion in the write up is:

Some cell phone users say they had an issue dialing 911 from their Google Pixel 6 models.

HackerNews presented a discussion thread. I found some interesting comments in the document which is located at this link. Here are several I found suggestive:

  • Crooked-v offered this observation and opinion: An update is not arriving for the Pixel 6 yet. Google’s newest flagship is going though a bit of an update crisis at the moment. The December 2021 update was pulled due to unrelated “mobile connectivity issues” (phone calls don’t work). While Google scrambles to fix everything, the next Pixel 6 update with this 911 fix is due in “late January.” Until then, it’s normal to be on the November patch. Both of Google’s “early January” and “late January” patch timelines seem incredibly slow for a bug that could cause users to literally die.
  • DoingIsLearning posted: Not sure why they don’t say it by name but the bug was originally found with MS Teams. “The issue is the result of an “unintended interaction” between Teams and Android, specifically when the users have the app installed but are not logged in to any account.”
  • Simfree asserts: I don’t think this is newsworthy at this point. My Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 both are unreliable when trying to call 911, calling with an over the top app or dialing the PSAP’s number directly are the only workarounds. Google doesn’t give a f*%k about this issue. I have filed repeated support cases over the past year with Google about this when using T-Mobile or Verizon.
  • yreg added: “It’s the users who are wrong” ideology applies when you tell the customers they are holding the iPhone 4 wrong. Or when you ask them whether they don’t have phones when you reveal the next Diablo as mobile-only. No company would argue that users are wrong and that they are not supposed to dial emergency services.

I recall a comment possibly by Google wizard Eric Schmidt along the lines that when a person has nothing to hide, there is no need to worry about surveillance” or something similar.

This can be applied to non functional emergency call features; for example, Avoid risk and you won’t have to call an emergency number.”

My view is that ad-centric companies should facilitate, intercept, and ad match emergency calls. The revenue from ad sales to emergency medical services, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, among others is money left on the table.

Google may be slipping.

Stephen E Arnold, November 25, 2022


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