Police, fire, and emergency management agency alerts will now appear when a Google search or a Google Maps search is performed in an area with an active emergency alert in effect.
“Google Public Alerts provides people with information about how to respond in emergency situations,” said Jonathan Betz, engineering manager for Google Crisis Response. “Nixle enables local response agencies to get that information into the community as quickly as possible. We’re very excited to bring Nixle’s local alerting and response information to the Google Public Alerts platform.”
With both a free and a paid premium version, Nixle is used by over 6,500 police agencies that serve more than 150 million people. According to Nixle’s CEO Eric Liu, only two million of those 150 million people subscribe to receive alerts. By partnering with Google, Nixle’s alerting service will now be available to a much broader audience because of the 100 billion searches performed on Google each month.
Launched more than a year ago on January 25, 2012, the Google Public Alerts platform is part of the Google Crisis Response project. It was designed to deliver relevant emergency alert information based on when and where a user was searching, distributing warnings issued by the National Weather Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
On October 29, 2012, Google announced that they had assembled a Hurricane Sandy map tracking the storm’s progress and providing updated emergency preparedness information. That same day, Google made emergency alerts available on Google Search & Maps in a users browser, on Google Maps for Android, and also on Google Now for Android devices running Jelly Bean.
The partnership with Nixle is the most recent update to the Google Public Alerts system since the announcement last month that public alerts were now available in Japan, the first international expansion of the service.