Google is launching a new feature for both Search and Maps today which is meant to give its users better information when a natural disaster or other crisis hits their area. These new so-called “SOS Alerts” will now prominently feature at the top of the company’s search results and in Maps when a user looks for information about an incident or an affected area.
The company worked with a number of agencies, including the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and many others to source this information.
In Search, Google will show an overview of the situation, maps, relevant news stories, emergency phone numbers (if available), websites and other relevant information. If you are close to an area where a disaster has struck, Google may also send you notifications that direct you to all of this information.
In Maps, Google will also pop up this information when relevant. Like in the search results, Maps will show information about the event and relevant phone numbers and sites. In addition, the map will also show real-time updates about road closures and transit updates.
This new feature is coming to Search on the desktop, mobile web and the Google apps for Android and iOS, as well as Google Maps for mobile.