Skype has updated its mobile and desktop apps to enable emergency calling in the US for the first time in its 18-year history. Calls to 911 are also possible through Skype’s web-based service, notes for the recently released Skype 8.80 showed.
Skype emergency calls can come in handy when you’re in a tough situation without a phone but have a computer nearby, or when the phone lines are down but you can get online.
An important part of 911 functionality is the ability to tell emergency responders your exact location so first responders can easily find you. This is useful in situations where you don’t know your exact position, or when it’s just easier to send automatically generated location data than trying to explain where you are – something that’s not always possible in a high-stress situation is easy.
Note, however, that 911 emergency location sharing is disabled by default for privacy reasons. To enable it, jump into Skype, select your profile picture, then Settings, then Privacy. Finally, turn on emergency location sharing 911. If you’re having trouble setting it up, you may need to allow location sharing in your device’s settings menu.
Skype notes that you must also acknowledge messages for “Notices & Disclosures” and “Special 911 Warning of Limitations & Unavailability” to complete the process of setting up the Emergency Location Sharing feature.
Skype has gradually increased the number of countries where you can use the service for emergency calls. You can see the full list here.
Skypes latest update also increases the maximum length of voice messages from two to five minutes, and lets you zoom in during a screen share to get a better look at text or anything else you need to see more clearly.
Everything you need to know about using Skype is at Digital Trends.
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