In order to give users more information during times of crisis, Google’s new SOS Alerts are the latest addition to the Google family of crisis response search features.
The SOS Alerts will appear at the top of search results relate to any incident or search for the location where the crisis has occurred. Google has said that alerts will include maps, top stories about the crisis, and local information from authorities when available.
According to the company, users geographically close to the crisis may get mobile notifications pointing to information around the incident.
“If you’re outside of the affected area, you may still want information about the crisis,” writes Yossi Matias, Google’s VP of engineering, on the Google Search blog post covering the announcement, “Searches for relevant terms (like the name of the event or the location) will also show an SOS Alert that provides a timely overview of the situation, in addition to features such as donation opportunities.”
These alerts will show up on Google Maps on mobile devices via a specific icon along with a tappable card, which will include more information related to the crisis, as well as real-time traffic and transit updates.
Google has said that the SOS Alerts were designed with help relief organizations and government agencies, such as Red Cross, FEMA, the Philippine Atmospheric and Astronomical Services Administration.