The Google Crisis Response team created the Public Alerts platform to make emergency messages reach out as many people as possible. Notifications about the weather, public safety and earthquake alerts can be seen in many of the company’s products such as Google Search, Google Maps, the Public Alerts homepage available in desktop and mobile platforms as well as in the Google Now Cards on Android devices. Since 2015, the company introduced cyclone alerts, so users could know about the cyclone’s projected area of impact, estimated time of arrival and advice on how to stay safe.
This service is available in 11 countries including India, and now, users from that country will get flood alerts as these phenomenon have been devastating in many parts of the country. The intention is to alert the population so they can be prepared and protect themselves. Google will use data from the Central Water Commission (CWC) and users will get alerts with river level information from the observation stations of the CWC covering more than 170 areas. These alerts will provide users with information about the hazard with a respective map, expected timeline and some tips with safety measures, users simply need to click them to get all of this information. An official post from the company stated: “We’re thankful to the Central Water Commission for making their flood alerts available as well as the India Meteorological Department for their cyclone alerts. By making critical and life-saving information more widely available to people around India, we want to help more people prepare for natural disasters, and hopefully protect more lives together”.
These alerts will be visible depending on the severity of the phenomenon as well as the location of the users when they make the search, but they can always refer to the Google Public Alerts homepage to see all active alerts. Google is working on expanding this service to more regions, but users can also encourage their local emergency management agencies to share their alert information in a web-friendly format so they can publish the alerts more easily. Users can also help Google to improve the accuracy of the alerts by sending feedback at the link on the bottom right or in the details page of an individual alert.