Google Tells Feds How To Get Emergency Info To The Top Of Search Results

Joseph Marks | Nextgov | June 4, 2013

Offering relevant information in open, machine-readable formats may be the most important thing government can do to keep the public informed during a natural disaster, Google and other technology leaders told members of Congress Tuesday.

When a natural disaster such as 2012’s Hurricane Sandy hits, federal, state and local government agencies are often the best source for trusted information about the storm’s path or the location of shelters and other services. People in the path of those storms, however, are much more likely to seek information on Google and other private sector platforms.

Google received about 15 million queries for Sandy-related information in the days before, during and after the storm, Matthew Stepka, vice president of the tech giant’s social impact arm told members of the House Homeland Security Committee’s panel on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications.