Google has launched a new capability for search results and maps which shows natural disasters and ‘other’ crisis. They have partnered with various agencies including the Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and various others to source this information. Being someone who is involved in the Corporate Security and also managing a Travel Risk Management programme this is very interesting.
The current functionality is limited to a number of countries where Google has been able to partner with the mentioned suitable agencies. As of go live 12 countries have this functionality including the US, Australia, Canada and the Philippines. I would expect this to grow pretty quickly. This new feature builds on Googles existing safety tools including Google Person Finder and Googles Public Alerts.
The new features allow for pushed notifications to those impacted in the area and are shown via icons on Google Maps, whilst also providing relevant news stories, any local authority instructions and the relevant telephone numbers for reporting and/or information.
As they are focusing on the larger crisis incidents the information is being verified prior to posting (apparently Google has set up a bespoke team) so the speed of response and the relevancy is yet to be seen!
The alerts are currently weather and traffic related but I would also see this evolving and hopefully will include security incidents. If this is the case it could be a great ‘free’ resource for security, business continuity and crisis management professionals. WATCH THIS SPACE…