Google's new SOS Alerts can provide critical information during emergencies

(Image credit: Google)

To help people keep tabs on what's happening during a crisis, Google is rolling out SOS Alerts – a new batch of features to augment search and Google Maps with relevant information during an emergency.

For example, searching an ongoing crisis will now bring up news and updates from local authorities, all in one place. Emergency numbers and even opportunities to donate to a relief effort can also be surfaced in SOS Alerts, when applicable. 

In Google Maps, SOS Alerts provide ongoing updates on areas experiencing a disaster, as well as lists emergency numbers and notices of blocked routes for those who may be detoured by an emergency.

It appears SOS Alerts will also offer information during emergencies such as wildfires and flooding, though the scope is likely fair greater.

This is not a test

According to Google, SOS Alerts can also provide notifications of a particular event to people close to the area, giving them relevant news and resources for whatever incident may be going on near them.

Google's aim with SOS Alerts is to keep people informed throughout a disaster, not unlike special radio or television broadcasts. 

If nothing else, SOS Alerts appear to be Google's way of expediting emergency information to those who may need more info in a hurry. In situations where every second counts, SOS Alerts could prove helpful indeed.

Parker Wilhelm
Parker Wilhelm is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He likes to tinker in Photoshop and talk people's ears off about Persona 4.