Phil Coakley, a software engineer with Google’s Public Alerts team announced the launch of AMBER Alerts for Google Search and Maps, yesterday. In an official blog post, Coakley announced that the AMBER Alerts service would help users bring abducted kids safely home.
Those using Google Search or Maps on desktop and mobile will be able to see an AMBER Alert, if they search for information pertaining to a particular location where a child has recently been abducted, and an alert was issued. Users will also be able to see an alert if they carry out a targeted search for the situation. Coakley shares that with these services a user’s disposal, chances are that more people will come forward to help search for missing children.
Test version of the Alerts service
Google’s AMBER Alerts service will provide information pertaining to the abducted child and other details about the case as they become known. Details would also include the make and model of the vehicle used for abduction, and information about the alleged abductor.
The AMBER Alerts service has been launched together with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the Google Public Alerts platform.
The post shares further that the US Department of Justice’s AMBER Alert Program is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies and others. It is an attempt to bring the entire community together in the gravest child-abduction cases. Coakley shares that Google is working with NCMEC, which will bring the AMBER Alert data to Google, making it possible to display information in Public Alerts.
Sharing Google's future plans for the service, Coakley adds that it is working with Missing Children Europe and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to ferry this service to more countries. “We’ll keep exploring different ways to improve child protection through innovative technologies, like what has been used to reduce exploitation and improve reporting to NCMEC,” he writes.
In March last year, when Japan crumbled after an earthquake and a tsunami, Google launched its Person Finder tool using which frantic friends and relatives of victims could enter the latter's first name and family name, and obtain information about the person's whereabouts. Google, at the time of writing the report, had amassed a track record of a 1,000 persons.