Google Launches New Public Alerts (Early Thanks To Hurricane Sandy)

Chris CrumSearchNews

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Google announced that it has added Public Alerts to Google Search and Maps from the browser, Google Maps For Android and via Google Now for android devices running Jellybean.

We talked about the Google Now feature (and other new Google Now features) here.

This follows the crisis response maps the company put out yesterday to help those caught up in the "Frankenstorm," Hurricane Sandy.

"Public Alerts provide warnings for natural disasters and emergency situations," explains Nigel Snoad, product manager, Google Crisis Response. "They appear based on targeted Google searches, such as [Superstorm Sandy], or with location-based search queries like [New York]. In addition to the alert, you’ll also see relevant response information, such as evacuation routes, crisis maps or shelter locations."

Here's what public alerts might look like as you come across them:

Google Public Alerts

"We’re able to gather relevant emergency safety information thanks to a strong network of partners, including NOAA and USGS," says Snoad. "Their commitment to open standards like the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) is what makes this all possible. We’ve also developed partnerships to bring you even more relevant alerts in the future, including local emergency data from Nixle."

Google says it was planning on announcing the features in a few days, but due to the circumstances, wanted to go ahead and get them out there. They're available in English for the U.S. for the time being, but the company says it's working with more data providers to bring it to more places.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.