Google’s new SOS Alerts in Search and Maps deliver info in times of crisis

Google's latest effort is targeted at people in a crisis

Google wants you to always be safe, so this week it has rolled out a new tool called SOS Alerts in Maps and Search, which display emergency info in case of disasters.

In Search, an SOS Alert will appear at the top of results if a user performs a search on a location that has been struck by a calamity. The Google Alerts are based on reliable content from the web and will display news, maps, updates from local authorities and useful translations.

The same feature in Maps will show live updates about the affected area, as well as links and contact details for emergency numbers, in a card. Red badges signaling a disaster has hit a particular area will also appear when you search.

If you have the latest version of the Google mobile app installed, you’ll also be able to receive SOS alerts in the form of notifications.

Google’s new SOS tools are very useful because they allow users located outside the danger zone to see what’s happening and postpone their travels to the area until things improve.

Google has worked with emergency authorities like the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration to develop these emergency response products.

However, Google notes that it can’t guarantee users will see an alert for every major catastrophic event, but it’s actively working on making them more broadly available over time.

SOS alerts for Maps and Search aren’t currently live, so we have to assume Google will start rolling them out soon.

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