Google’s Crisis Response tool is designed to make “critical information more accessible in times of disaster”, and has been used in the past for hurricanes and floods. Now, Google has announced it will also display relevant tweets on a special subset of Public Alerts, which serve to warn users in specific locales of an impending disaster, hitherto via official sources.
Starting from June 3, Google says that Public Alerts have started including tweets for some of the more “extreme Public Alerts”, with a view towards answering questions, such as whether schools are closing. It will also reveal what people are seeing on the ground – eyewitness accounts, in other words.
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“Many people on the front lines of a disaster are sharing relevant information through social media,” says Google. “We want to help make this content easier to find, and available alongside information from official sources.”
The one downside for now is that it’s only available for English-speaking regions, and is restricted specifically to Public Alerts. However, the internet giant says it’s actively working on ramping up its social integrations in the future.
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