Disasters can happen at any moment, and when they do, it's often hard to find the right information to help you get to safety as quickly as possible.
The internet is helpful for finding out safety information, but with so many people posting about it at the same time, it can get hard to tell what's accurate and what's made up. Luckily, Google has partnered with emergency help agencies including the Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to give you real-time safety information when disaster strikes.
The new feature is called "SOS Alerts," and it's going to be added to Google Maps in addition to the search engine. According to Google's support website, the feature aims to make emergency information more accessible in the event of a natural or "human-caused" crisis. This likely means that SOS Alerts will appear for attacks as well.
Google promises that this platform will bring relevant and legitimate information from all over to be highlighted in Search and Maps. The updates will include information such as emergency phone numbers, emergency websites, maps, translations of relevant phrases, and donation opportunities.
Most of the information from SOS Alerts will have to be manually searched in Google in order to be found. The company says that when you search for information about a crisis, there will also be a banner you can tap to pull up all the emergency information listed above.
Additionally, Google says that if you install the latest version of the Google app on Android or iPhone and turn on your location, you can also get a notification directly to your home screen if you're directly in the area where the crisis is occurring. If you aren't, you can still search for SOS Alerts in the search engine.
In the Maps app, there will be an icon on the map that will give you the information you need to get to safety once tapped. There will also be real-time updates about road closures and transit options to get you where you need to go as fast as possible.
SOS Alerts is the fourth safety platform that Google has released, joining the ranks of Google Person Finder, Google Crisis Map, and Google Public Alerts. The alerts should be available now, but will only appear in times of crisis.