Google Launches SOS Alerts for Search and Maps

Google today debuted a new safety tool for both Search and Maps to give you a helping hand should crisis strike.

SOS ALERTS MapsDubbed SOS alerts, the new set of features will be prominently displayed at the top of Google’s search results and in Maps when you search for information about a crisis or natural disaster.

Google’s goal with the new tools is “to help you quickly understand what’s going on and decide what to do during a crisis,” said Google vice-president of engineering Yossi Matias.

“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.”

If you are outside of the affected area, searches for relevant terms such as the name of the event or the location will pop up as an SOS Alert to offer information updates about the situation and to offer information about donation opportunities when applicable.

The Google Maps app, meanwhile, will offer real-time updates, like road closures and traffic and transit updates. You’ll also be able to see an icon on the map with a tappable card offering more information such as helpful phone numbers and websites.

Google partnered with the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and a number of agencies to develop SOS Alerts.

To learn more about how SOS Alerts work, check out Google’s help page for the new tool.

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Jennifer Cowan

Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.