Tech giants Google and Twitter have had difficulties seeing eye-to-eye since the end of their partnership in 2011, but it appears Google is putting old grievances aside for a greater good. As of Tuesday, Google Public Alerts has begun incorporating tweets from disaster-struck locations. Extracted from Twitter's public API, these notifications are used to supplement updates from organizations like the National Weather Service. The idea is to have the public's tweets help answer questions like "Are schools closing?", "Are neighbors evacuating?", and "What are people seeing on the front lines of a storm?" Google Public Alerts disseminates the emergency messages through services such as Google Maps and Google Now, as well as the Public Alerts website. Currently, only English-speaking regions benefit from the new feature.
According to Wired, Google stressed that for now, Twitter is only being utilized in conjunction with "public alerts and crisis responses." Relations between the two companies have been strained in recent years, with Twitter once describing the search behemoth's decision to integrate Google+ into search results as "bad for people." Prior to the fallout, Google indexed tweets and made them searchable via access to Twitter's Firehose, a real-time data stream exclusive to its partners. It was rumored that Google even went as far as discussing the acquisition of the fast-growing microblogging service. Although they're working together for public alerts, there are reportedly no plans to resurrect real-time search. As Wired's Mat Honan writes, however, this may be "tacit admission that their products work better together."