Two years after their original introduction, Google is updating its SOS Alerts with more real-time information about areas affected by natural disasters, and new navigation warnings in Google Maps to help route you around danger. The changes will also show you more detailed visual information about earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods, with a visual overlay to show the impacted areas.
For hurricanes, Google will attempt to forecast their route, and will display a crisis notification card in Google Maps if you’re near an affected area. Flood forecasts will show an overlay on a map of affected areas, along with information about severity. Finally, earthquakes will also get a crisis card, which will show you its epicenter, magnitude, and areas affected.
Google’s SOS Alerts are a way to provide essential information quickly in the event of a natural disaster. If you search for a relevant term, then Google will surface a summary of relevant news, emergency phone numbers, safety tips, and Twitter updates. In the most serious cases, Google will send out a push alert to users in the affected area.
The new visual SOS Alerts will be rolling out to users in the coming weeks, but supported platforms and regions vary between the different natural disasters.
The Google Maps navigation warnings and earthquake indicators will both be available globally. Earthquakes will be visible on Android, iOS, desktop, and the mobile web, while the navigation warnings will be on iOS and Android only. Meanwhile, flood visualizations will be supported on Android, desktop, and the mobile web, but they’ll only be available in India where the risk of drowning in a flood is particularly high. Finally, hurricane visual forecasts will be available across all platforms in the US, Mexico, Caribbean, Western Europe, Japan, Taiwan, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and South Korea.