Google’s Pixel Watch gets Fall Detection starting today

The company says it won’t call 911 when you’re skiing.


Google announced that it’s rolling out Pixel Watch fall detection starting today. Like the Apple Watch feature of the same name launched in 2018, Google’s version also uses motion sensors and algorithms to determine if you’ve fallen and need help. However, Google says it won’t accidentally call emergency services for winter sports accidents, as the Apple Watch’s crash detection has done.

If the Pixel Watch detects a possible fall and a lack of movement for about 30 seconds, it will vibrate, emit an alarm and display an onscreen message checking on you. If it wasn’t a bad fall, tap the “I’m OK” button to dismiss the alert; tap “I fell & need help” if you want it to call 911. Otherwise, the sound will continue for about a minute and grow louder in its final seconds. If you still haven’t responded to the alert by then, it will contact emergency services automatically, playing them an automated message requesting help at your location. (You’ll also have the option of speaking to the 911 operator from the watch.)

You can activate the feature on the “Updates” page in the Watch Companion app on your paired phone or in the Pixel Watch’s Personal Safety app.

Google says its fall detection should avoid false positives. “Worried that doing burpees or hitting the ski slopes will trigger an accidental emergency call?” Google wrote in its announcement post. “Your Pixel Watch knows the difference between taking a hard fall and performing a vigorous physical activity or even quickly recovering from a small stumble — thanks to our machine learning algorithms and rigorous testing. The motion sensors and algorithms can monitor for a sudden impact and your body’s responses and instinctive reactions to falling. We trained this process using a broad variety of human and simulated fall data and other motion patterns to accurately detect real falls and minimize potential false alarms.”

Google adds that you can supply data to help it improve the feature by toggling the “Help improve fall detection” option. This will send the company motion-sensor data of any events detected as falls.