Public Alerts FAQs

  1. What is Google Public Alerts?

    Google Public Alerts is Google’s platform for disseminating emergency messages such as evacuation notices for hurricanes, and everyday alerts such as storm warnings. We aim to show relevant official weather, public safety and earthquake alerts around the world when you search on Google Search, Google Maps, and when you activate Google Now on your Android device. Currently, we publish content from our partners in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Taiwan, and Indonesia.

    Google Public Alerts is a project of the Google Crisis Response team, supported by Google.org, which uses Google's strengths in information and technology to build products and advocate for policies that address global challenges. We hope Google Public Alerts provides the public with information it needs to make informed decisions in times of crisis.

    While we can’t guarantee that you’ll see every alert when using Google services we’re doing our best to show what’s important when you need it, and hope that Google Public Alerts is a useful additional source of information. We’re working hard to improve what you see and would appreciate your feedback, which you can provide using the “Feedback” links on the alert details pages and on www.google.org/publicalerts.

  2. Why is Google building a public alerting service?

    We want to make it easy for people to find critical emergency information during a crisis through the online tools they use every day. By incorporating public alert data from authoritative sources into Google Search, Google Maps, and other Google properties we aim to simplify the process of finding emergency information.

  3. What kinds of alerts does Google Public Alerts show?

    Google Public Alerts currently shows weather, public safety and earthquake alerts from our partners in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Taiwan, and Indonesia.

  4. How does Google decide when to show an alert?

    Google Public Alerts shows alerts from our our partners. What alert you see (if any) may depend on what alerts are active at a given location, their severity, your search query, your default location settings, or your device location. Our goal is to provide the most relevant alerts to our users. To see all alerts go to the Google Public Alerts homepage. Note that some events, such as earthquakes with lower magnitudes, may not be listed.

  5. I can already see weather on Google Maps or on another site. Why do I need this?

    The goal of Google Public Alerts is to make it easier to find specific information during emergencies when people are already using Google products.  Google Public Alerts can allow you to find important weather information without even looking for it. Public Alerts does this by bringing together critical alerting information and instructions for severe weather conditions and non-weather alerts such as missing persons, wildfires and earthquakes, and displaying them on various Google properties (Google Maps, Google Search, Google Now, etc). We’re planning to extend beyond this list by adding more types of emergencies into our alerting system.

  6. Why don't I see any alerts when I search on Google Maps or Google Search?

    What alert you see (if any) depends on what you search for and where, as well as on the severity of any alerts that might be active at a given location. To see all active alerts go to the Google Public Alerts homepage.

  7. When will local alerts from my city be available?

    We’re just getting started but we’re working hard to provide local alerts in more locations. We’re beginning with a few key partners but plan on expanding this service where there’s relevant data.

    If you’d like to see local alerts more quickly, you can contact your local emergency management agency and encourage them to share their alert information in a web-friendly format. To make it easier, we have outlined next steps here.

  8. How do I find old (expired) alerts?

    You can use advanced search to view prior alerts that Google Public Alerts has received. Note that the alert layer on the Google Public Alerts homepage only shows the currently active alerts.

  9. How do I report inaccurate or inappropriate content?

    Please use the send feedback link on the bottom right of our Google Public Alerts homepage or on the details page for an individual alert. Make sure to give us as much detail as you can.

  10. Where do the recommended actions come from?

    Google works with the following official sources to show their event specific recommended actions alongside the details of an alert:

Public Alerts Partner FAQs

  1. How does Google work with government agencies like the US National Weather Service?

    Google partners with authorized alert originators and distributors listed here.

    We’ve also built an Alert Hub that aggregates alerts from alert-originators such as our partners and allows others to develop ways to re-distribute them online.

    For additional information about preparing Public Alerts data, please visit our Partner Help Center.

  2. What is the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP)?

    CAP is an international standard for publishing and sharing alerts. We advocate using an open and common standard, in order for everyone to have a consistent way to automatically receive and share alerting information, as well as publishing alerts securely using open web formats like Atom and RSS.
  3. I'm from a public agency and I'd love to see our alerts on Google Public Alerts. How do I make that happen?

    We welcome partnerships with agencies, domestic and international, who publish authoritative alerts. In order to get a head start, you can follow the steps below:

    After performing the steps above please fill out this contact form. If Google is interested in integrating your data into public alerts, we will respond to your initial inquiry submitted through this form and schedule a call to talk with your organization. The purpose of the call is to allow us to better understand what content you are interested in bringing to Public Alerts.

    If we want to move forward with your organization and your data, we will proceed to a data evaluation stage.  During this stage, we may request that you provide us with sample data, technical support from your team, and further information about your systems and process. In parallel, we will work with you on an agreement to disseminate your data.

    Once we evaluate your data, and if we determine that your data is a match for Public Alerts, we will continue to work with your team to integrate your data into Public Alerts.

Public Alerts Mobile FAQs

  1. How is Google Public Alerts integrated with Google Now on Android?

    Public alert information fits well with Google Now’s goals of showing you the information that matters where you are.

    A Public Alerts card will show when there is an important emergency alert in your area, as published by authoritative sources such as the National Weather Service, and the US Geological Survey (USGS). The alert will automatically show as the first card in Android’s Google Now service when swiping up on your Android device. The title and publisher of the alert will be displayed on the card as well as a brief snippet of text about the alert. If you would like to learn more about the alert, including alert location, click on the “More Info” link and you will be taken to the alert details page.

    You will only see alerts if they have been published for your location by authoritative sources. Google will only show the most severe alerts in Google Now, similar to the level that triggers most national emergency alert systems. If there are no alerts for your area, no Public Alerts cards will be displayed. Public Alerts will also show up in your notification shade when updates are available -- just swipe down from the top of your screen to open or dismiss these notifications.

  2. How do I turn off a Public Alerts card in Google Now?

    If you would like to dismiss a Public Alerts card, just swipe it away. To turn off Public Alerts, you can go into Settings > Now Cards > Public Alerts and slide the blue slider to “Off”. You will no longer receive Public Alerts notifications in your notification shade, and Public Alerts cards won’t appear when you open Google Now.

  3. What kinds of alerts show on Google Now on Android?

    Google Now strives to show the most severe and relevant emergency alerts from the same providers we use for Public Alerts in other Google products. We will only attempt to display an alert if it is published in the language of your device.
  4. Why does an alert sometimes appear to come back after I dismiss it?

    When an alert publisher sends an update to an existing alert Google Now will show a Public Alerts card with the new content even if you dismissed the earlier alert.
  5. Can I see Public Alerts on Google Maps with my mobile browser?

    Yes. If you go to your mobile browser and head to Google Maps at maps.google.com, we will show you relevant weather, public safety and earthquake alerts when they are triggered by your search. The alerts will show up at the top of the screen when viewing the business listings for your search. If you want to learn more you can click “more details” and it will take you to an alert details page similar to the experience on Google Maps on your desktop.
  6. How is Google Public Alerts integrated with Google Maps for Mobile?

    When searching on Google Maps for Mobile on your Android device, if the corresponding location of your search triggers a relevant alert, the alert will be displayed at the top of search results in an orange banner. If you would like to dismiss the alert you can click on it and select hide alert. If you want to view more details, click on it and select view more details. This will lead you to an alert details page where you can learn more about the alert. Please note that at this time no public alerts will ever appear when using the directions feature.

    While we can’t guarantee that you’ll see every alert when searching on Google Maps for Mobile, we’re doing our best to show what’s important when you need it, and hope that Google Public Alerts is a useful additional source of information.

  7. Why am I receiving alerts via text messages? How do I turn them off?

    Sometimes you may receive a text alert containing warnings and public safety information on your mobile phone. This is likely sent by Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), an alerting platform used by emergency management officials to disseminate public safety information via geographically targeted text to mobile phones. While Google Public Alerts shows similar warnings and public alerts as CMAS, it is an independent platform developed by Google. Google Public Alerts sends emergency messages to mobile phones via Google Now and also surfaces alerts on various Google properties such as Google Search and Google Maps.

    The method for turning off emergency alerts depends on your wireless service provider, but here are some common things to try:

    • iPhones: Settings -> Notifications -> Government Alerts
    • Android devices:
      Option 1: Settings -> Wireless & networks -> More -> Emergency Alerts OR
      Option 2: Messaging -> Settings -> Emergency message settings
    • Windows phones: Messaging -> ... -> Settings -> Emergency Alerts
    • Blackberry phones: Messages -> Options

    If the above methods don't work, please contact your wireless service provider for instructions.

List of Our Partners

  1. Who provides content to Public Alerts?