Google partners with PAGASA for typhoon alerts

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 12 2014 07:04 PM | Updated as of Nov 18 2014 07:09 PM

MANILA – Tech giant Google has partnered with state weather bureau PAGASA to make available its Public Alerts feature in the Philippines starting Wednesday.

Whether operating on Android or iOS, typhoon warnings are now accessible through platforms such as Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Now.

In a press conference, Google Public Alerts program manager Payal Patel explained that with the government agency they can offer instant updates on typhoon warnings in the country.

"One year since the devastating typhoon Haiyan, how will people discover emergency information online?" she asked. "Thanks to PAGASA's information, you can clearly see exactly when to expect landfall or when the storm will come pass through your area. "

Google Public Alerts has been launched nine countries over the past two years and Patel said they are excited to bring the platform to the Philippines to offer a new avenue to bring storm updates to users.

"We noticed this problem that whenever there was an emergency situation, it was hard for our users to find that authoritative visual information in their time of need," she said.

As an example, Patel said users will be automatically notified through Google Search if one is located to be near or within the area where landfall is expected.

"If you're in Cebu City and you want to see if there's a typhoon warning, you can quickly find that information from PAGASA on Search," she said.

For those who have the Google Now app installed in their mobile phones, a push notification will be enabled to inform the user of the typhoon alert.

In addition, storm forecast paths and traffic information can also be checked through Google Maps.

According to PAGASA Acting Administrator for Operations and Services Landrico Dalida, Jr., the agency worked for five months with Google to make Public Alerts fully operational in the country this month, in time for the first anniversary of super typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda).

Dalida said PAGASA, together with Google, will be the first to send out public alerts next time a typhoon threatens to hit the country.

"We expect that the next typhoon that will hit the country, the PAGASA crisis team, in partnership with the Google Crisis Response team, will be issuing the first public alert," he said.

PAGASA, meanwhile, vowed to continue to work with Google to offer more important and needed information to the public in the future.

"We hope that this new tool disseminate weather, warnings, and conditions to the public, [and that it] will have more venues and available information in their timely and easily-understood format," Dalida said.