Google provides a number of tools to use in emergency situations including People Finder, Public Alerts and Crisis Maps, and today they’re adding SOS alerts to Google Search and Maps to get timely information to you in a crisis.
Working with a number of frontline agencies around the world including the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Philippine Atmospheric and more, Google will show information on an event based on your interest and your proximity to the event.
Google will show SOS alerts at the top of search results when you search for an incident or the location it’s occurring in. Results will include ‘maps, top stories and—when available—authoritative local information such as emergency phone numbers, websites, and translations of useful phrases’ – as well as notifications on your device if you’re in the area. If you’re not in the area you’ll still get all this as well as links to donation opportunities.
Google Maps will also show SOS Alerts when on mobile. Google says you will see a ‘specific icon on the map and a tappable card with more information about the crisis’. Information included will be similar to that on search including helpful phone numbers and websites and the map will include real-time updates for traffic.
There’s no mention of how, or even if this will work in Australia. We’ll be confirming with Google Australia for more localised information.