Yesterday, Google announced the release of its new emergency alerting platform—Google Public Alerts. The platform, developed by Google’s not-for-profit Crisis Response division, is designed to display relevant emergency alerts to people who are searching for them on the web.
Weather, public safety, and earthquake alerts issued by US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service, and the US Geological Survey (USGS) are displayed on a Google Maps interface. User’s can drill deeper into alerts through links to the originating site.
Google is using the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) to receive and disseminate alerts, and according to Google’s site “strongly encourage(s) all agencies to adopt international standards like CAP for sharing public alerts, and publish them securely using open web formats like Atom and RSS.”
It is clear from Google statements that this first iteration is just a foundation for what is to come. Though current alert origination is limited to the federal agencies listed above, Google is encouraging authorized local public safety officials to post alerts as well. There is no cost to participate.
From Google’s documentation, the steps for participating are as follows:
From our interactions with Google over the past year, we’ve been impressed with their desire to help support public safety and protect citizens in times of disaster. We’re looking forward to seeing how this new public alerting tool develops over time.