Google Maps will show you earthquake epicenters and crisis navigation

The search giant wants Maps to be a go-to information hub during a natural disaster.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva

Google Maps is making updates to "SOS alerts."


Google wants to make it easier to find information during a crisis or natural disaster.


Google Maps will show you information about earthquakes. 


The search giant on Thursday announced new features for "SOS alerts" on Google Maps . The app already lets you see basic information about a crisis, like what's happening, emergency phone numbers and Twitter updates from authorities.

But now you'll be able to get more visual information. For example, during a hurricane, you'll be able to see the storm's trajectory and get information about what to do. In an earthquake, you'll see a graphic that tells you the epicenter and magnitude. In a flood, you'll see where the water is likely headed.

If you're in navigation mode, Google said it'll alert you if your route is affected by a disaster. You'll also be able to share your location and see road closures. The new navigation tools are coming this summer, Google said.

The new features are part of a push to make Maps a more useful hub of information beyond just looking up directions. Last month Google Maps said it would highlight a menu's most popular dishes and let people order food directly from the app.

Google also last year announced features to make the app more social, such as a "for you" tab that offers tailored recommendations and a "match score" to tell you how much you might like a restaurant or business.