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Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Google Adds SOS Alerts to Search and Maps


Google has begun rounding up information about crises such as natural disasters and terrorism within its Search and Maps services.

Visitors will be shown updates from authorities, news articles, emergency telephone numbers and other useful information in a single place.

The SOS Alerts facility can also be set to trigger mobile notifications to those nearby to affected locations.

Google has joined forces with with local-government bodies, the Red Cross and various weather-forecasting organisations to provide SOS Alerts to 12 countries so far. They include the US, Japan, the Philippines, Australia and Canada.

The initiative builds on earlier emergency response efforts from the search giant, including its Person Finder and Crisis Map tools.

When activated, the Maps tool reveals, among other things, areas that should be avoided, which roads have been closed and places users can seek refuge.

Data gathered from the firm's crowdsourced Waze mapping platform also makes it possible to see where traffic jams, accidents and other problems have been reported by the public.

The level of detail shown within the Search tool could include links to official alerts, tweets from first responders, and useful short phrases in the local language.

Google has set up a dedicated team to decide which events warranted an SOS Alert.

Facebook also offers a parallel service to let members in the vicinity of a disaster tell friends they are safe.



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