NEWS

Sandy Prompts Early Launch of Google Emergency Alert Feature

By Carlton Purvis

Google this week launched a project to provide warnings for natural disasters and emergencies. The new feature, Google Public Alerts, was originally scheduled to launch in November, but was released early to help disseminate Hurricane Sandy information.

Public Alerts populates search results with emergency information based on keyword or location searches. The alerts include evacuation routes, crisis maps, and shelter locations.

“If you are searching for superstorm Sandy, you’ll see content at the top of the Search page specific to this crisis," wrote Nigel Snoad of Google Crisis Response on Google’s official blog on Tuesday. "For other searches, you’ll see public alerts where and when they are live.” 

 

 

The alerts also include information on the likelihood of an event, when to expect it, estimated severity, and recommendations from FEMA’s Ready.gov.

There are no active alerts for Hurricane Sandy, which has been downgraded to a storm, however, current search results include a link to Google’s Hurricane Sandy Crisis Map which includes power outage information, traffic conditions, weather radar, and related YouTube videos.

The project is a result of partnerships with government agencies, including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey.


image: screenshot of Google Public Alerts
 

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