It’s no secret that we are a country battered by tropical storms and other natural disasters. We’ve all had our horror stories, and heard others that are far worse. In order to help everyone be a little more prepared, and have access to a little more information that might save lives, Google has partners with PAGASA to bring us Google Public Alerts.
The service, which is integrated with Google search and Google Now, gives you relevant information on natural disasters, such as storm paths, forecasts, and rainfall estimates for weather disturbances, epicenters and magnitudes for seismic activity, and soon, information on shelters and other intel that could prove valuable in times of crisis. Google, which has always striven to help out in the past with such projects as the Google Person Finder, and updates to Google maps that help rescue teams find people who need help, particularly when they are in unfamiliar territory.
The service also does its best to provide relevant, critical information when you enter a search string that it recognizes to be related to a crisis. You could, of course, get the same information poking around the Internet on your own, but what makes the information of particular value though, is that it comes right from the authorities whose job it is to watch the skies. What alerts you see depend on the alerts active at a given location, the severity of the alerts, the search query, and your location. This ensures that only the most relevant, accurate information makes it to you, eliminating the danger of getting important facts wrong.
“The Philippines is one of the most typhoon-stricken countries in the world, with an average of 20 tropical storms making landfall each year,” said Meryl Stone, Head of Partnerships for Google Crisis Response. “By making crisis information readily available through online tools people commonly use, we hope to help those at risk to act more promptly and mitigate disaster impact.”