Google’s SOS alerts will tell you if there’s a crisis

Google is introducing a new feature called “SOS Alert” in its Maps and Search mobile apps, which will notify users in the event of a nearby crisis.

If someone were to search for “BC wildfires” on Google, for instance — and if any wildfire were actually taking place there — the app would show detailed maps, emergency numbers, news articles, and updates from local authorities right at the top.

SOS Alert also supports direct notifications: In case someone was inside the designated area, Google will directly send a notification to alert about the issue, without having to wait for the user to look for it.

SOS Alert
The feature works both on Google Search as well as Google Maps. Google

The feature also works directly within the Maps app, where a stark red sign will mark the affected area. Tapping on the red dot will open up a card with the same useful information you would find on Search.

Google has partnered with the Red Cross; the Federal Emergency Management Agency; the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and “many others” to build SOS Alert, and will keep working with local authorities to improve the accuracy and quality of results as the events occur.

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