Google Search and Maps Apps Gain 'SOS Alerts' Feature

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Google launched a new feature for its Search and Maps apps today that aims to help users stay on top of events when a natural disaster or other crisis occurs near their location (via TechCrunch).

Called "SOS Alerts", the notifications will appear at the top of Google search results and Maps when a user looks for information about an incident or the affected area.


In the Search app, Google will offer an overview of the incident using maps, relevant news stories, emergency phone numbers where available, websites, and any other information that might be useful. In the event that the user is in close proximity to the incident, Google may also send notifications directing users to further details.

The same information will show up in the Maps app where relevant, for example in search results, with real-time updates detailing road closures and traffic and transit updates.

Google has worked with several organizations to bring the feature to its Search and Maps apps, including the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Philippine Atmospheric, and Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

Google Maps and Search can be downloaded from the App Store for free.

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43 months ago

So my understanding (from the MR post and TechCrunch and Google's press release) is that this isn't a service/feature you opt into, it will do it by default, is that correct? None of them say this explicitly but I'm assuming so. Wonder how it works for people who have location services turned off for Google -- will it still know what country you're in and push related national alerts?

There is nothing to opt-in to. This isn't a push notification service. These are shown at the top of search results when performing a search for a place or thing relevant to some type of emergency situation. And, if you aren't using location services, using Google Maps seems like it would be difficult. Regardless, it isn't required since these are being shown off relevant searches when using Google search. Google can approximate your location without the need for location from the users anyways.
[doublepost=1501014673][/doublepost]

We track you here. We track you there. We track you. We track you everywhere.

What does this have to do with tracking? Showing emergency alerts based off of searches has nothing to do with tracking.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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