Google’s Pixel smartphones, known for their advanced features, have a notable limitation in their car crash detection functionality. This feature, designed to enhance user safety, is unexpectedly disabled when the user is roaming, even in countries where it is officially available.
This issue was personally encountered by a user (via Android Authority) during a recent trip to Bilbao, Spain. After switching off Airplane mode on her Pixel 8 Pro, she was surprised to receive a notification indicating that the car crash detection feature had been disabled.
This was particularly confusing because both Spain, her current location, and France, her home country, are recognized markets for Google where this feature is supposed to be operational. Additionally, under EU regulations, her SIM card should work similarly in both countries. Despite this, Google’s policy deactivates the car crash detection feature during roaming, irrespective of the user’s location or access to communication services.
The user expressed frustration over this limitation, arguing that a critical safety feature like car crash detection should not be restricted, especially in a global context where travel is frequent. She pointed out that while the feature’s primary function is to call emergency services, her roaming SIM card was capable of dialing emergency numbers for free in Spain, questioning the rationale behind completely disabling the feature. She suggested a possible solution where a basic version of the crash detection could allow users to contact their emergency contacts, even if the full functionality is not available.
During her stay in Bilbao, where she engaged in various activities including renting a car, the user was constantly aware of the absence of her Pixel 8 Pro’s car crash detection feature. It was only upon her return to Paris that the feature was reactivated, leading to a somewhat ironic realization that her Pixel phone seems to prefer her to be environmentally conscious and avoid traveling.
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