Google has announced that its highly anticipated fall detection feature is rolling out to all Pixel Watch users today. Fall detection uses motion sensors and on-device machine learning to identify if a user has taken a hard fall and connect them with help if needed. The feature is similar to Apple’s fall detection feature, which the tech giant has offered since 2018 with the launch of the Apple Watch Series 4. Google’s announcement was timed to coincide with Mobile World Congress (MWC), which is taking place in Barcelona this week.
Pixel Watch users will be able to opt into the fall detection feature starting today. Users are going to see a promotional card on the “Updates” page on their Watch Companion App or in the Personal Safety app where they can toggle on fall detection.
When a Pixel Watch detects a hard fall and about 30 seconds passes with no movement, the watch will vibrate, sound an alarm and display an on-screen notification to check if the user needs help. If the user is able to, they should either tap “I’m OK” on their watch face to dismiss the notification or tap “I fell and need help” to be connected to emergency services right away.
If a user doesn’t select either of these prompts, the watch’s alarm will continue for about a minute, getting louder in the final few seconds. If the user still hasn’t responded, the watch will automatically attempt to call emergency services and play an automated message that requests help to wherever the user is located. The user can also speak to the emergency operator themselves if possible to let them know if help is needed.
Google says fall detection has been “extensively” tested to ensure that a Pixel Watch understands the difference between taking a hard fall and performing a vigorous physical activity or recovering from a small stumble. As a result, users don’t have to worry about accidentally causing an emergency call when doing burpees, the company says.
At the time of the smartwatch’s launch, Google had revealed that fall detection would roll out in the winter. Fall detection is now available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Japan, Australia and Taiwan.