ICRC Red Cross Two Women Family Reunion Crisis Apps Google SOS Alerts Maps Search News

July 25 — How many naturals disasters or any other type of crisis could be avoided just by knowing where to go, escape, or who to call for help?

Nowadays, just by having the Internet, troubles of this kind can be avoided. First, it was Facebook that helped its users in areas of crisis by giving them the option to mark themselves as safe. Now, Google has launched a brand new feature for both Search and Maps called SOS Alerts.

Information can mean survival

Natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other dangerous crisis in different parts of the planet have seriously endangered people’s safety, but not only from the situation itself but because of lack of knowledge about what is happening or how to act.

Now, people can be warned in time with the relevant information for salvation. Maybe it sounds like an exaggeration, but the facts at a particular time can save lives.

How SOS Alerts work

Google’s feature is meant to give notices and relevant details to users in the situation of crisis or natural disaster in their area. When the user looks for the news about the potential crisis, he will get noticed with a warning at the top of the search.

There won’t be just information notices, but a whole notification kit including maps, relevant news stories, emergency phone numbers, websites and other. If the specific user isn’t by any chances notified about the crisis, Google Search will also send a notice about that, no matter what.

In Maps, this new feature will also inform users when relevant information appears. It will pop up like in Search with an info package and safety tips. Comparing to the Search feature, in Maps, it will also be possible to track real time conditions on the roads and transit updates.

Teamwork to help everyone

Google collaborates with many organizations and agencies to help people around the globe. The Red Cross and other institutions help to provide clear and appropriate information for users.

These new features are coming to Search on desktop systems, mobile web and the Google apps for Android and iOS, as well as Google Maps app for smartphones.

SOS Alerts is another feature that Google dedicated to services for taking care of its users in crisis, besides Google Person Finder, Google Crisis Map, and Google Public Alerts.

Photo credit: International Committee of the Red Cross
Source: Yossi Matias (Google press release)