Opinion post by
Rita El Khoury

Tech is too iterative, too boring, and too focused on AI. And then there are genuine moments of wonder when a company announces an impressive new feature, and you go, “AHA! YES. THAT!” Once it’s out there, that feature seems so obvious, so simple, and so impactful that you can’t imagine going back to a world where it doesn’t exist.

These moments are becoming few and far between, but I’ve gone through them with Google a few times in recent years. First, there was the Pixel’s car crash detection, launched in 2019, which relies on the phone’s location, microphones, and physical motion to guess if you’ve been in a crash and help you get in touch with emergency services. Then, there was Android’s earthquake alert system in 2020, which uses millions of Android phones‘ accelerometers to detect vibrations and alert people in the area, giving them a few precious seconds to react and take cover.