Google has announced that it will include an SOS Alert feature on its popular Google Maps service providing users with accurate and timely notifications regarding nearby catastrophes.
If nearby, Google will present links to official alerts, tweets from first responders on the scene, and useful short phrases in the local language.
According to the Express, Google Maps will host up-to-date information about terrorist attacks, unfolding natural disasters, and other crisis within close proximity to the user.
Handsets will receive regular updates from local authorities, news reports, emergency telephone numbers and other useful information to aid those in trouble. Google’s SOS Alerts will automatically trigger notifications to those who are in affected areas just by pinpointing the handset’s GPS coordinates.
Experts say the new facility is an excellent idea that could save lives. Like Facebook’s Safety Check feature, SOS Alerts go one step further by supplying users with all the information they need to avoid an incident or help pull them through the aftermath.
SOS tools have become a useful addition to several apps recently. Community Help was introduced to Facebook earlier this year, which allows users to offer help or shelter to others in an affected area. Google Maps offers the same, and a whole lot more.
Google has partnered with local organizations in the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and the Philippines to help provide users with information in affected areas. They go a step further by providing information on how to help individuals who are stuck in those areas as well. Google is currently working on securing partners all around the globe to ensure their SOS Alert feature is the best in the business.
According to Tech Crunch, the SOS Alerts will be featured at the top of the company’s search engine results and in Maps when a user looks for information about an incident or an impacted area. Notifications will automatically fly up on-screen if there is an impending dangerous situation.
Google Alerts Tied to International Agencies
Google has teamed up with several agencies including the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, and many others to provide the latest information to its customers.
Nevertheless, Google’s new feature can be used for more than simply alerting you about natural disasters or terrorist attacks. It can also be utilized to notify the user about congested roads, road closures, and areas to be avoided due to overcrowding or large-scale demonstrations.
“Crowd-sourced data from Google-owned navigation app Waze will also be fed into the system to ensure it is always up-to-date. If nearby, Google will present links to official alerts, tweets from first responders on the scene, and useful short phrases in the local language,” the Express writes.
Google has set-up a dedicated team to monitor global events, determine which crisis deserves an SOS Alert, and to provide the best information possible. Soon users will be provided with links to make donations to charities involved in clean-up situations, link up and share locations with friends, as well as provide inside information about the crisis themselves.