Throughout the bushfires crisis over the past few weeks and months, Australians have searched for updates on fire conditions near them, as well as help and safety information. This was reflected in our 2019 Year in Search list published last week, which shows that ‘fires near me’ was the highest Search query in Australia for the year.
The emergency services already provide a wealth of information, so using that data we want to make sure that people can access timely and useful bushfire information when they come to Google Search and Maps. Working with emergency services we launch SOS alerts as a crisis unfolds to provide the most useful and authoritative information through Search, Maps and Android Notifications.
We also use the Google Crisis Map to inform people of current bushfire locations, as well as the alert level, so they can take the necessary action as per guidance from the emergency services.
In addition to product support, Google staff in Australia have led a global fundraising effort over the last month, with staff donations, matched contributions and a grant from Google.org raising $500,000 for the Australian Red Cross for bushfire relief.
As the bushfires continue, we are working with the Fire and Emergency Services in all states and territories to ensure coverage across Australia to give people and communities relevant information available when they need it most.