During an emergency, people in close proximity to the area of the incident will be sent an alert and shown critical information pertaining to the incident as well as news from the local authorities, first responders and other things like news articles, emergency numbers and more.
Those who’re not in the area of the incident but still want relevant news and information about the same can find it by entering the relevant terms like the name of the incident or the location where it has occurred.
“During a crisis, you may see an SOS Alert at the top of search results when searching for the incident or location. You’ll see maps, top stories and—when available—authoritative local information such as emergency phone numbers, websites, and translations of useful phrases,” Google announced.
Google has collaborated with various organisations and government agencies including Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and others.
“Radio and television were once the only channels to quickly provide information in an emergency, but the internet and mobile phones have become increasingly important,” said Robert Glenn, Director at FEMA.
In addition to the SOS alert, other crisis response features offered by Google include Google Person Finder, Google Crisis Map and Google Public Alerts.
“Our philanthropic arm Google.org provides grants and volunteers for communities impacted by crises. We hope you never need to use crisis response features, but if you do, they’re designed to help keep you, and those you love, safe and informed,” the company added.
According to a report in the BBC, data gathered from the firm’s crowd-sourced Waze mapping platform also makes it possible to see where traffic jams, accidents and other problems have been reported by the public.