Google now posting emergency alerts via Google Maps

Public safety alerts for floods, tornadoes, and other disasters will now appear on Google Maps, which will provide locations and details.

Google's new Public Alerts page now offers information on emergencies around the world.
Google's new Public Alerts page now offers information on emergencies around the world. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

People looking for information on a natural disaster or other emergency anywhere in the world can now stay abreast of the latest details courtesy of Google Maps.

The new Public Alerts page, which Google is launching today, aims to keep you informed of emergency alerts for floods, tornadoes, winter storms, and other dangers that may be headed your way.

The idea is tell you what's happening, when and where the disaster may hit, how severe it will be, and what resources are around to help you, according to a Google blog post.

You can search for a specific item by going directly to Google Maps and typing the name and location of the potential disaster. For example, typing "winter storm alaska" displays "Winter Storm Warning in Northern Alaska" at the top of the search results with a "more info" link that you can click on to view the full details.

You can also go directly to the Public Alerts page to view of a list of current emergency warnings throughout the world. Each warning is displayed on the map as a hotspot, which you can hover over or click on to view more information.

Either way, clicking on a particular emergency reveals all the details as compiled by the Google Crisis Response team from various government resources. You'll find the latest news on the disaster or crisis along with recommendations on what you should do to protect yourself.

Since this is Google's first attempt at providing this type of emergency information, the company is asking users to respond with any suggestions by clicking on the "Provide feedback" link at the bottom of the Public Alerts page.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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