Google is bringing its Public Alerts system online in Canada today, after previously launching it in the U.S. and expanding it to Japan last month. The launch couldn’t be more timely, as Canada is currently experiencing high waters and flood problems in areas just experiencing the spring thaw, including northern Ontario’s popular Muskoka region cottage country.
The Google Public Alerts bring warnings and notifications for severe weather changes to Google’s desktop and mobile products, including Google Maps, Google Search, Google Now and the dedicated Public Alerts page itself. The alerts are drawn from Public Safety Canada and Environment Canada, two government-run organizations that meteorological data and keep an eye out for major storm systems passing through the area.
Google Public Alerts will trigger on the desktop or mobile in Search when you search for a relevant area or type of weather condition, providing a brief summary of the condition in question, as well as the location and the time of the alert, and allowing you to click through for more info. As mentioned, there’s currently some flooding in Northern Ontario, but as of right now, there are no active severe weather warnings in effect from Environment Canada or Public Safety Canada, so Canadians won’t see any alerts just yet. This is bound to be extremely useful the next time winter rolls around, however, especially given how common Google Maps is becoming as a navigation aid given its presence on every Android device, and on iOS as a standalone app.