updated 12:05 pm EST, Wed January 25, 2012
Google Public Alerts goes live for emergencies
Google has just launched its Public Alerts platform for Google Maps that will allow users to get updates on emergencies in their area. These could include weather disasters, earthquakes and more. Created by the Google Crisis Response team, users can search by simple terms such as "flood in Indiana," as in the example pictured below.
Google uses alerts from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service, and the US Geological Survey (USGS). It makes them accessible to users using the "more info" button. Alerts that are active in the search location are returned in the order of their severity and a user's search query.
Access is so far confined to the desktop. It's not apparent when mobile apps will get the update, although it's likely that only Android will get the notices if and when they do arrive.