A Life-saving service from the big G
[Editor’s note: Thank you to our friend Andy Russell for bringing this new Google service to our attention. If you have a topic you think would be a good fit for our blogs please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org]
Google’s latest feature, SOS Alerts, aims to display relevant information about crises or natural disasters in any given area using search results and Google Maps to help those affected. When Google determines an event is a crisis (for now the alerts are focused on large-scale “global” emergencies rather than local accidents), users in the crisis area will see relevant information such as news coverage, maps of the affected area, links to shelter information or situation-specific phone numbers, even feeds of instructions from local authorities. Anyone outside of the impacted area will be shown items like news stories, links to verified charities helping those in need, and will have access to existing Google safety tools such as Person Finder.
Google’s aim is to answer the questions we often tell clients they need to cover for their own stakeholders in the face of a major incident: What is going on, where did it happen, and what am I supposed to be doing?
This type of information has been out there and available for some time, but never before has it been made so easy for even the least tech savvy among us to use the devices we carry every day to find potentially livesaving information. Major kudos to the entire Google team for this one, you’re truly global good neighbors in our eyes.