Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) philanthropic arm Jan. 25 expanded its crisis response work with a platform that brings users localized emergency alerts to Google Maps when users are searching for information on inclement weather and natural disasters.
Google Public Alerts will provide emergency information during hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and wildfires, among other crises. The alerts will tell users what's happening and when, the severity of the disaster and where to go for help.
Users might also search for "winter storm New England" on this Website to view any and all active alerts for such storms in the region.
Searchers can click through to "more info" to see a page displaying more details about the alert. This will include full description from the alert publisher, a link to their site and other information.
The information on crises and disasters is culled from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service and the US Geological Survey (USGS).
Alerts that surface on Google Maps are predicated on whether specific crises impact a given location and their severity.
Google's Crisis Response team has been providing such information for the last few years, albeit on a more reactive, rather than proactive, basis.
Specifically, Google has offered crisis information on earthquakes in Haiti and Chile in 2010, the tsunami and earthquake in Japan in 2011, as well as the BP oil spill in the Gulf in 2010 and the effects of Hurricane Irene in the United States last summer.