Google is launching a new crisis response tool called SOS Alerts, which will push information to users of  Google Maps and Google Search. The feature has been developed with input from partners such as FEMA and the Red Cross. According to the BBC, Google has yet to find partners in the UK and Europe. While it will cover events here, the coverage ‘will contain less information as a consequence until information-sharing arrangements are struck.

The initial launch covers Australia, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Taiwan, and the USA.

For more information about what SOS Alerts is and how it works, visit the help page here.

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From the Independent

Google SOS Alerts help keep users safe during a disaster

Google has added a number of emergency features to Maps and Search.

SOS Alerts have been developed with the aim of delivering important updates to users during major disasters. 

These include maps, news reports, emergency phone numbers and translations of local phrases. 

Please click here to read more.


From Time Magazine

Google’s Newest Feature Will Help People Looking for Help After a Crisis or Natural Disaster

For SOS alerts, the company is currently focusing on large-scale global emergencies rather than local accidents such as train derailments. “The factors we take into consideration [are] the level of impact, how many people [are affected], public interest, and most importantly how helpful can we be to the people that are interested in the crisis,” Matias says.

Please click here to read more.


From the Verge

Google’s SOS Alerts are a less annoying version of Facebook’s Safety Check

It appears that the alerts will be created and curated by Google staff, rather than automation. But that also means Google’s teams will have to pick and choose which events get SOS Alerts. At this point, Google is already warning that it’s not going to cover everything. “While we can’t guarantee that you’ll see an SOS Alert for every major crisis, we aim to make them available more broadly over time,” the company’s help page reads.

Please click here to read more.


From the Telegraph

Google launches SOS alerts to help users during crises

Users searching for information about a disaster on Google who are in close proximity to it will receive extra details, such as numbers for helplines and emergency services, the latest news updates, and a link to maps with travel and traffic updates.

The SOS alerts feature has been created in partnership with disaster organisations from 12 countries, but it will be available across the world, including the UK, a spokesperson for Google told the Telegraph.

Please click here to read more.

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