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Navigation app Waze will alert drivers about reported child abductions nearby

Navigation app Waze will alert drivers about reported child abductions nearby

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Social navigation app Waze is integrating AMBER alerts for abducted children into its US app. Drivers using the app in areas where individuals have been reported missing will be shown an alert with the child's name and face, as well as the option to find out more information on the web. The alerts will only appear when a car has been stopped for more than 10 seconds and will also offer information on the model, make, and license plate of the vehicle the child is traveling in if available. Once the user's car starts moving again the alert will disappear. Alerts will be shown no more often than once per individual, per week.

AMBER alerts have helped safely recover 728 abducted children

The alerts themselves are originally distributed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in conjunction with law enforcement agencies. Since AMBER alerts were introduce in America in 1996 they've helped safely recover 728 abducted children. The alerts are distributed via various voluntary programs in the US over a variety of mediums including radio, television, billboards, and more.

Mockups of how the alerts will appear in the app, and what other information users can see. (Waze)

In a blog post announcing the feature, Waze said its turn-by-turn navigation app "has always been about sharing information for the common good. In this spirit we hope the addition of AMBER alerts to Waze will make a significant contribution to safety and awareness for children and parents across communities everywhere."

Waze crowdsources information about road conditions and traffic from its users, with the app automatically re-routing drivers if there's congestion ahead. Google bought Waze in 2013 for a reported $1 billion, and this week the internet giant pushed the app a little more into the mainstream by adding it to its list of Google Mobile Services; a package of core Google apps including YouTube and Gmail that handset manufacturers can choose to pre-install on Android devices.