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Mobile Apps

Waze adds Amber alerts to its traffic data

The crowdsourced traffic app owned by Google will now display alerts for missing children.

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Waze users will now start to see Amber alerts to help find missing children. Waze

Users of the Waze traffic app can now help in the search for missing children.

As of Tuesday, Amber alerts will be integrated into the app courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to Waze. A voluntary effort among law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies and the wireless carriers, Amber alerts are already distributed to mobile phones as a way to notify people of lost or missing children. But the new feature will deliver those alerts directly to the Waze app.

Owned by Google, Waze is a different type of mapping and direction app as it uses crowdsourced data from individual drivers. As such, users of the app can more easily avoid accident scenes, traffic jams and other hazards by sharing information with each other. Sharing Amber alerts with "Wazers" could help expand the use of the program, which has already safely recovered 728 children since it started in 1996.

The Waze app will scan for Amber alerts every 10 minutes, Waze explained. If an alert is discovered, the app will display it to Waze users in the reported location. The alerts will only appear if your car has been stopped for 10 seconds and will only pop up once a week per each alert. The alerts disappear if you tap the map or start moving your car again.

The alerts may display a photo of the missing child along with the license plate number and other information on the car that might contain the child. A "more information" link will switch you to a website where you can find more details on the missing child.

"Waze has always been about sharing information for the common good," the company said in its blog post. "In this spirit we hope the addition of Amber alerts to Waze will make a significant contribution to safety and awareness for children and parents across communities everywhere."