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Google Pixel Watch can now track your tumbles with Fall Detection

A promised safety feature arrives on Google's first smartwatch.

Published onFebruary 28, 2023

A Google Pixel Watch displays the Fall Detection screen.
  • Google’s Pixel Watch now features Fall Detection.
  • Users can find the new feature on the Updates page in the Pixel Watch app.
  • The watch will now automatically detect hard falls and contact emergency services.

Google has finally rolled out Fall Detection to the Google Pixel Watch. When the watch originally launched, the feature was promised to arrive sometime in winter. Now existing users can enable Fall Detection for future use. Tapping its existing sensors, the watch uses machine learning to recognize if a user takes a hard fall and does not get up immediately. Most importantly, Google extensively tested the feature to differentiate between minor trips or workouts and actual falls with safety concerns.

The feature automatically springs into action when the Pixel Watch detects a real fall. After 30 seconds without detecting user movement, the watch will emit an alarm and vibrate on the user’s wrist. It will also display an onscreen prompt with two options: “I fell and need help” or “I’m okay.” You can tap “I’m okay” to dismiss the feature if you are, in fact, okay. If not, tapping “I fell and need help” will connect the device to emergency services.

If you fail to tap either option, the watch will emit a louder alarm. After about a minute, it will automatically contact emergency services. Once help is reached, the watch will play an automated message requesting assistance. If you are able, you can speak to the operator instead to explain your situation.

To start utilizing the new feature, open the Pixel Watch app on your paired phone and look for the promotional card on the Updates page. To enable it right from your wrist, open the Personal Safety app and tap the toggle next to Fall Detection. Do note that if you don’t have an LTE-enabled Pixel Watch, you will need your watch to be actively connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth for this to work.

While this safety measure may be new to the Pixel Watch, it is not new to wearables in general. Both last year’s Apple Watch Series 8 and Galaxy Watch 5 offer Fall Detection. It is encouraging to see Google continue to support this first-generation device. These improvements to the smartwatch narrow the gap between the Pixel Watch and current industry leaders.