Web

Google’s Public Alerts service launches in Japan, offers up-to-date information during natural disasters

japanIn Japan, Mother Nature is well known for keeping the population on its toes, with earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis, floods and even the occasional volcanic eruption hitting the headlines all too often.

This evidently hasn’t escaped the notice of the folks at Google, who on Thursday launched its Public Alerts service for those living in the East Asian nation. The online system is designed to provide up-to-the-minute information and relevant emergency alerts in the event of a natural disaster.

“With nearly 5,000 earthquakes a year, it’s important for people in Japan to have crisis preparedness and response information available at their fingertips,” Google partner technology manager Yu Chen wrote in a post announcing the news. “And from our own research, we know that when a disaster strikes, people turn to the Internet for more information about what is happening.”

Chen said that relevant earthquake and tsunami warnings for Japan will now appear on Google Search, Google Maps and Google Now.

Japan_Tsunami_Maps_

If, for example, you open Google Now on your Android device following a major quake, you’ll be able to find information tailored to your exact location. So if you’re in an area for which a tsunami alert has been issued, you’ll be notified of the alert, together with evacuation instructions.

The web giant said it will pull much of its emergency information from Japan’s Meteorological Agency before reconfiguring it for its Public Alerts service.

“We hope our technology, including Public Alerts, will help people better prepare for future crises and create more far-reaching support for crisis recovery,” Chen wrote in the post.

The rollout of Public Alerts in Japan marks the first international expansion of a service that debuted in the US last year.

Google’s service will complement Twitter’s Lifeline feature, which launched in Japan last September. This also enables users to receive important updates and alerts during a crisis by generating a list of relevant Twitter accounts actively posting emergency information. And there’s also Facebook’s Disaster Message Board, a feature that enables users to show friends and family that they’re safe during a disaster or other emergency situation.

[Top image: Bambuh / Shutterstock]

Cars

Tesla’s Dog Mode lets good Samaritans know that Fido’s A-OK

Tesla's latest over-the-air software update adds two features called Sentry Mode and Dog Mode. Sentry Mode records footage and alerts the owner if someone breaks in, while Dog Mode runs the A/C so owners can safely keep their dogs in their…
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for February 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Computing

So there’s a chance Microsoft may not remove MS Paint after all

A screenshot showing a missing product alert from a preview of the newest Windows 10 build may indicate that Microsoft might not get rid of MS Paint after all. There's a chance that the beloved image editor may avoid a Microsoft Store…
Computing

Russia will ‘unplug’ from the internet as part of a cyber-defense test

Authorities across Russia are planning on unplugging the country from the global internet as part of a test of its cyber defenses. The disconnection will briefly keep all internet traffic inside the country.
Gaming

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.
Mobile

Is the 5G spectrum harmful to our health? Experts say, 'Don't freak out'

There's plenty of consumer anxiety about radiofrequency (RF) radiation, specifically around millimeter waves (mmWave) used on 5G networks, but is it based in reality? We asked the FDA to give us its official view on the subject.
Web

Gmail adds lots of new functionality to its right-click menu

Right-click on an email in Gmail and the list of actions is pretty limited. That's about to change, though, as Google has just announced it's expanding the list of options to make its email client that little bit more useful.
Computing

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.
Computing

File Transfer Protocol explained: What FTP is and what it does

FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol," and it's used to transfer files online. Most internet users don't need it, but web developers use it constantly. Here's what FTP is, how it works, and how you can get started using it.
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Computing

Lose the key for your favorite software? These handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.
Computing

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual-monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't necessarily mean you need to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual-monitor wallpapers for you.
Social Media

Instagram test reveals direct messages may be coming to browsers

Instagram for the web has always been a minimalist affair compared to the feature-rich smartphone app, but in the last few years that's started to change. The latest news is that Instagram is considering adding direct messages.