Another tech company is working to keep you safe during times of crisis.
Google announced a new set of safety features called “SOS alerts” in a blog post on Tuesday. With SOS alerts, which the company will add to Google Search and Google Maps, Google hopes to “make emergency information more accessible during a natural or human-caused crisis.”
A vice-president of engineering at Google, Yossi Matias, spoke to Time about the new development, and said SOS alerts were partially inspired by his experience with a major fire on Mount Carmel while working in Israel. At the time, he had no immediate information on what was going on.
“The concerning part was that I couldn’t find any information,” he said. “Should I vacate the office? Where exactly is it? It wasn’t until I called the mayor’s office that I got information.”
Information about crises will be available in the primary languages of affected areas, and in English, the company wrote on the support page for the new feature.
Examples of what the updates will say include:
A Google spokesperson told Mashable, “For SOS, we will work with governments to help source and validate content.”
Users may receive a notification on their home screen if they have the latest version of the Google app with their location turned on, the company says on its website. Additionally, alerts may come up if you’re near a crisis and do a search for related information on Google. Emergency information would follow.
People outside of the area can also get an SOS alert by looking up information on the incident. Additionally, Google Maps users will be able to see an alert icon on the app, which will provide more information when tapped.
In terms of responsibility, the company says it’s extremely careful to echo public safety information with reliable sourcing.
“We take our responsibilities in time of crisis very seriously and focus most of our effort during crises on ensuring we are only providing users with accurate information,” a spokesperson said. “We are doing our very best to ensure inaccurate information is never provided.”
According to Google’s site, the new feature may not alert people every time a major crisis happens, but they say they’re working to make it available more broadly.
Safety Alerts are definitely something that should be treated with care, though. Facebook’s Safety Check has received backlash in the past for asking people who aren’t close to a situation to mark themselves safe, which people say make crises sound more widespread than they truly are. It also makes it seem as though people who aren’t close to the situation may not be safe.
There are some similarities between the new feature and Facebook’s Safety Check, which allows people to mark themselves “safe” during a crisis.
Similar to the way Facebook allows people to add fundraisers to their Safety Checks, users of Google SOS can access opportunities to make donations during a crisis. Facebook also recently updated its feature to include information about crises on Safety Check.