Microsoft has launched a safety application called Guardian for Windows Phone users in India, offering features such as distress messages. The app also allows users to track their devices remotely, similar to iOS's Track my iPhone and Android Device Manager.
Users can allow their families and friends to track them in real time during emergency situations by turning on the feature, which runs on Microsoft Windows Azure cloud services and Bing Map APIs. An SOS alert button also lets them connect with security agencies, police and hospitals, or send distress messages to a customized list of contacts via SMS, e-mail or Facebook.
The app was developed over six months by a group of enthusiastic Microsoft employees in India, under the Microsoft Garage intiative which lets staff explore their ideas. It follows a slew of similar apps in India recently catering to heightened concerns over public safety of women, on the back of a high profile gang rape in Delhi earlier this year.
"Our employees wanted to do something to enable people to feel safer in our cities. So they used their spare time to develop Guardian. Guardian is a robust personal security app with more safety features and capabilities than any other comparable app available to Indian smartphone users today," said Raj Biyani, Managing Director of Microsoft IT India.
The Guardian app is officially available for free only for Windows Phone users in India. While Microsoft plans to eventually roll out the service to other countries, it is already downloadable and functional, according to reports.
Earlier this month, the Indian government announced plans to introduce a panic button on public transport which will be GPS-supported, and a mobile app with a similar feature. Local phonemaker iBall has also jumped on the bandwagon with a handset featuring a physical SOS button.