In an effort to raise awareness of missing children and assist in their safe return, Google has partnered up with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to bring AMBER Alerts to Google Search and Google Maps on both mobile and desktop devices. It will also provide data about new cases through Google’s Public Alerts platform.
AMBER Alert notifications will be shown for your local area based off of relevant web search content, and they will constantly be updated as new information becomes available. These alerts will include details such as a description of the missing child and information about the vehicle of the abductor if known.
Google’s Phil Coakley says in a blog post that “by increasing the availability of these alerts through [Google’s] services, [they] hope that more people will assist in the search for children featured in AMBER Alerts and that the rates of safe recovery will rise.” The service will use Google’s Public Alerts service, which currently shows emergency updates concerning weather, public safety, and earthquakes from the National Weather Service and the US Geological Survey. AMBER Alerts will be added to that list.
The service is only available in the US, but Google is working with Missing Children Europe and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to hopefully bring similar services to more countries around the world. Google says that they’ll “keep exploring different ways to improve child protection through innovative technologies,” so this could only be the beginning for Google as far as AMBER Alerts are concerned, and we could see more features from them about the service.