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Google rolls out earthquake alerts and info

Source: Google

One of the first things people do after they feel an earthquake is check the internet.

So Google is making it easier for people to get important earthquake information right after the ground starts shaking.

"We definitely see a spike in search trends when people think they might be experiencing an earthquake and we just want to be able to provide that information as quickly as possible, so they don't need to sift through news results or social media, to figure out what is going on," Google spokesperson Susan Cadrecha in an interview with CNBC.

Starting Thursday, when people search for information on earthquakes — with search terms such as "earthquake near me" or "earthquake San Francisco" — Google will "provide information about the quake and information about how to stay safe in the aftermath and during aftershocks," Cadrecha said.

If you disclose your location, you will not have to enter in a location in search queries. Users who don't leave that on, just need to punch in the location they are searching.

The result will include a map of the affected area, as well as the magnitude of the quake, the location of the epicenter, and any landmarks. It will also include a shakemap, which displays the intensity of the quake in different areas.

The information will appear at the top of a search page or Google search app.

The app pulls information from the United States Geological Survey. The USGS makes quake information available after a seismologist reviews the data — usually within a few minutes of the event for California events, and within a half hour for events elsewhere in the world. Once the USGS releases the information, the Google app updates almost instantly.

Cadrecha said it is available in English now, and the company hopes to roll out other languages soon.