Google Expands Public Alerts to Japan to Help with Natural Disaster PreparednessBy: Josh Wolford - March 7, 2013
Google has expanded its new public alert program to Japan, a country that is still feeling the effects of a massive hurricane and tsunami that hit two years ago.
Google Public Alerts, first launched in the U.S. following hurricane Sandy, are now available in Japan. Public Alerts provide pertinent information about natural disasters and other emergency situations inside Google Search, Google Maps. and Google Now.
This is the first country that Public Alerts have reached since its U.S. launch.
Now, when people in Japan search Google or Google Maps for information pertaining to an earthquake, let’s say, the alert info will appear on both desktop and mobile right at the top of the search. There will be a link inside the alerts that will let users access “more info,” which will include full disaster profiles from the Japan Meteorological Agency, among other stuff.
“We hope our technology, including Public Alerts, will help people better prepare for future crises and create more far-reaching support for crisis recovery. This is why in Japan, Google has newly partnered with 14 Japanese prefectures and cities, including seven from the Tōhoku region, to make their government data available online and more easily accessible to users, both during a time of crisis and after. The devastating Tōhoku Earthquake struck Japan only two years ago, and the region is still slowly recovering from the tragedy,” says Google.
The Public Alerts are also featured on Google Now, and are tailored to the user’s location. “For example, if you happen to be in Tokyo at a time when a tsunami alert is issued, Google Now will show you a card containing information about the tsunami alert, as well as any available evacuation instructions,” says Google.
Google says that they are looking to expand these Public Alerts to other countries soon.