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Google adds emergency alerts to Maps

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Google has launched Public Alerts, which adds strong weather and earthquake warnings from US agencies like the National Weather Service to its Maps site.

Google Public Alerts
Google Public Alerts

Visitors to Google Maps will now see floods, earthquakes, and blizzards when they search for locations. The company has just launched Public Alerts, which integrates warnings from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service, and the US Geological Survey (USGS) into Maps. Searching for a type of alert, like "flood," near a location will bring up any warnings, along with the full text from the source and a chart noting how likely, severe, and soon the emergency might be.

So far, Public Alerts is limited to the US, and visiting the central page here doesn't bring up a huge number of notifications. Besides the current partners, other agencies can work with Google to have their alerts added to the service, as long as they adhere to the Common Alerting Protocol, a standard data entry format used by many US agencies. In addition to adding more countries and types of alerts, Google also hopes to make "relevant alerts visible on other Google products in the future." Will we be seeing Google Search, plus Your Disasters coming soon?