Google has announced that from now its Public Alerts service will incorporate tweets from disaster-struck locations. If a public disaster alert from sources like the National Weather Service is issued, it will include relevant tweets in Google Now, Search and Maps, as well as on its Public Alerts website.
Google says that the aim behind this is to have the public's tweets help answer questions in emergency situations. The feature is currently being rolled out in English-speaking regions. The internet giant says that it is also working towards adding "new kinds of social content to other products and geographies in the future."
The announcement came via a Google+ post from the Google Crisis Response team. Google says in the blog post: Starting today [June 3], you can find relevant data from Twitter on a subset of Google Public Alerts. We launched Public Alerts to provide updates from official sources, such as the National Weather Service, via Google Now, Search, and Google Maps. Now, some of the more extreme Public Alerts will include Tweets to help answer important questions: are schools closing? Are neighbors evacuating? What are people seeing on the front lines of a storm?"
Once partners in 2011, both companies have faced issues in the past with Twitter once describing the Google's decision to integrate Google+ into search results as "bad for people." This decision could be small, but significant step in bringing Twitter data back into Google products. A Google spokesperson stated that the tweets are sourced via Twitter's public API and not the "firehose," or real-time data stream. Twitter declined to comment on the news.