Google is already sending public alerts to people hit by flooding in India and users in India can now use Search to simply enter a query on a flood-affected area to see key information on the current situation in that region, the company said on Friday.
This monsoon season has seen some of the most devastating floods in many parts of India, with many people in states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Assam continuing to grapple with the effects of the flooding.
Especially in regions near water bodies like rivers, sustained torrential rain can result in a rapid rise in water levels, putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk.
“Over the past several months, along with the Central Water Commission (CWC), we have deployed our flood forecasting initiative and sent numerous public alerts to people in impacted regions across India,” Google said.
Any user in the affected region with an Android smartphone with location services enabled will receive these alerts, the company said.
Google is currently issuing these notifications in English, Hindi, and Bengali depending on the device language and location of users.
For example, a user in Bihar will get the notification in English and Hindi while a user in West Bengal will get the notification in English and Bengali.
Users can also use Search to see key information on the current situation in a flood-affected region.
“If there is a current flooding situation in the area, you will see a visual overview of key information including the rise or fall in the water level in the next day with a description of the recent situation containing specific guidance where available,” Google said.
Users will also see a colour-coded map indicating the flooded areas.
Clicking on this map will open a larger, more detailed view in Google Maps where one can zoom in to get a better understanding of water levels in specific regions.
“You can use this feature no matter where you are in India by searching for “flooding” and the name of an affected location on Search or Maps; it can be very useful to stay updated, especially if you have friends or family in the affected areas,” Google said.