Skip to main content

Google adding personalized hurricane warnings to its search results

hurricane balloons from space
As far as Google is concerned, the more personalized your search results are, the better — you get the information that’s most relevant to your current situation and Google can improve its advert targeting at the same time. The technology giant has just announced a new initiative designed to improve public alerts and safety just in time for hurricane season.

When users in the U.S. query Google about hurricanes or tornadoes, the results will change based on their current location — you’ll be able to see a map showing your location in relation to the coming storm, visualizations of its forecasting track and arrival time, and concise instructions for how to stay safe. Those instructions will be pulled from official sources and customized to take into account how severe the storm will be when it hits your location.

Related Videos

“For example, if you search for a specific storm when it’s still several days away, you may see a map of the developing weather event and a recommendation to start preparing an emergency kit,” explains Google data engineer Pete Giencke in a blog post. “If the storm is only hours away from your location, you might receive a reminder to start charging your phone in case power goes out. And if you search when the storm is nearby, you’ll get the most urgent information, like how to avoid injury from fast-moving water or flying debris.”

hurricane example

The feature is rolling out to users in the United States now though there’s no indication if or when it’s going to expand to other countries regularly affected by natural disasters. Google already offers a public alerts system in partnership with several nations across the globe, and has a dedicated Crisis Response team for making information available after a disaster. This new measure should improve people’s safety before the event too.

“Not every storm is as devastating as Katrina was, but they all have the potential to cause damage, disrupt lives, and uproot communities,” adds Giencke. “By providing useful, accurate, early-warning information, we want to do our part to help people prepare. More information won’t stop natural disasters from occurring, but it can go a long way to keeping people safe, and in some cases, could even save lives.”

If you’re stuck in the path of an incoming storm, you know what to do: Google it.

[Image courtesy of 3dmotus/]

Editors' Recommendations

Google adds icons to image searches to offer more info on thumbnails
Google's Logo

Google is constantly tweaking the appearance and functionality of its popular search engine, with the latest change aimed at image searches.

Rolling out by the end of the week, the new feature means that when looking for images using Google on desktop, you’ll see small icons at the bottom left corner of each listed thumbnail that offer more information about the page to which they are linked.

Read more
Google deploys its SOS Alerts system for reliable coronavirus information
Google's Logo

With cases of the coronavirus continuing to appear in more countries around the world, Google has added official safety advice and other relevant information to the top of its search results for people keen to find out more about the outbreak.

Google announced the move on Thursday, January 30, after the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the coronavirus outbreak an international public health emergency.

Read more
Disney+ has huge first month in downloads, tops all Google searches for 2019
Disney Plus Lifestyle

Although Disney+ only debuted a month ago, it seems to have taken over 2019 as one of the most significant cultural moments of the year based on its subscriber count and domination over internet searches. 

According to CNBC, Apptopia, an app-tracking company, reports that the Disney+ app has already been downloaded onto mobile devices 22 million times. Since the streaming service launched on November 12, it has averaged about 9.5 million daily users. The Disney+ app is in the top spot for both Apple and Google app stores. 

Read more