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SOS Alerts on Google Search and Maps, Trusted Contacts on iOS Launched

The crisis response team at Google in an effort to provide more timely information using the technology when a crisis occurs to help you keep safe and informed, launched new “SOS Alerts” in Google Search and Maps.

The SOS Alerts will appear at the top of search results related to an incident, or when searching for the location where the crisis has taken place. According to Google, alerts will include maps, top stories about the incident, and local authoritative information like emergency phone numbers, websites, and translations of useful phrases when available.

Additionally features such as donation opportunities are shown as well.

Also, those who are close to the affected area, may get a mobile notification directing to the information about the crisis as well. However, those outside of the affected area, can search for relevant terms like name of the event of location, will also get an SOS alert providing a timely overview of the situation, says Google.

Google Search SOS Alerts
SOS Alerts on Google Search results

The SOS Alerts will also available on Google Maps mobile, via a specific icon along with a tappable card that include more crisis-related information such as helpful phone numbers and websites, along side, real-time traffic and transit updates.

Google Maps SOS Alerts
SOS Alerts on Google Maps

Google notes, the SOS Alerts and other crisis response features were designed with relief organizations and government agencies, including the Red Cross, FEMA, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, among others.

The other crisis response features, available from Google, include Google Person Finder, Google Crisis Map and Google Public Alerts (philanthropic arm Google.org provides grants and volunteers for communities impacted by crises.)

Also, Googles’ hotel search has received new “vacation rentals” filter in both web search and local search.

Try a search [hotels in paris] and look at the accommodations filter, a new filter for “vacation rentals” is now there, click more details to filter the results by vacation rental within the hotel search interface.

Here is a screen shot from Google’s web results:

Google Search vacation rental filter
Vacation rentals filter

Google has also begun showing sitelinks into a newly designed carousel format, in the mobile Google search results.

The Trusted Contacts app, that share you location information with your known––even if your phone is offline or you can’t get to it, is now available on iOS alongwith Android.

The app also lets you proactively share your location in everyday or emergency situations.

And, through updates for Android, Google makes it even easier to get help, when you can’t answer your phone—for example, “you get lost while hiking and lose service—you can choose how long to wait before your location is automatically shared with a trusted contact who asks for your location,” writes Google. You can now choose to share immediately or wait up to an hour.

In addition, you can also add trusted contacts by phone number, or by email address. When a phone number is typed in, an SMS is automaticall sent to that person with an invitation to accept and become a trusted contact. You’ll then see their name and profile picture in your app from then on.

Trusted Contact app on iOS and Android

With this update, Trusted Contacts is available in nine new languages for a total of 25 worldwide: Amharic (Ethiopia), Greek (Greece), Persian (Iran), Bahasa (Indonesia), Macedonian (Macedonia), Burmese (Myanmar), Nepali (Nepal), Serbian (Serbia) and Urdu (Pakistan).

The Google iOS app, updated to version 31.0, comes with a new feature for “sending feedback” aboht its autocomplete suggestions.

“You can now give feedback on autocomplete suggestions to help us improve them. To give feedback or report a suggestion, just swipe it to the left,” reads the changelog.

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