Google adds new SOS Alerts to search and Maps as part of its crisis response features
Aiming to give users more information when a crisis occurs, Google’s new SOS Alerts are the latest addition to its family of crisis response search features.
The SOS Alerts will appear at the top of search results related to an incident or searches for the location where the crisis has happened. According to Google, alerts will include maps, top stories about the crisis, and local information from authorities when available.
Google says users geographically close to the crisis may get mobile notifications pointing to information around the incident.
“If you’re outside of the affected area, you may still want information about the crisis,” writes Google’s VP of engineering, Yossi Matias on the Google Search blog post covering the announcement, “Searches for relevant terms (like the name of the event or the location) will also show an SOS Alert that provides a timely overview of the situation, in addition to features such as donation opportunities.”
The SOS Alerts will also show up on Google Maps on mobile devices via a specific icon along with a tappable card that will include more crisis-related information and real-time traffic and transit updates.
According to Google, the SOS Alerts (and other crisis response features) were designed with help from relief organizations and government agencies, including the Red Cross, FEMA, the Philippine Atmospheric and Astronomical Services Administration.