I’m glad to see Apple make this change.
Originally posted on Gigaom:
When it comes to aiding someone who is emotionally driven to kill him or herself, the right response can literally be a matter of life and death. In order to help those in crisis, Apple (s aapl) has updated Siri’s search response system to field suicide-related requests with an approach designed to drive users to seek help as quickly as possible.
With an update to phones running iOS 6 and iOS 7, Siri now reacts with a strong, two-fold approach when mentions of suicide come up. First, the assistant offers the number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and will even offer to call directly — a new feature that makes seeking help as simple as clicking “yes” on the phone. If for whatever reason the user decides to select “no”, Siri does a search of all local suicide prevention centers, offering a list and directions powered by Yelp.
It’s clear from the update that Apple wants to prevent any potential response blunder and turn Siri into a usable tool for those in crisis to get the professional aid they need. But it’s also not the first company to target specific language towards suicidal users. Google has kept a list of “trigger search” keywords to indicate a user searching for suicide since 2010, and will also send back a suggestion to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.