Google Now emergency alerts

If your phone doesn't support Wireless Emergency Alerts, Google Now can still warn you

We all tend to loathe those emergency alerts that pop up on our phones from time to time — AMBER Alerts, weather alerts ... you know the drill. That is, we loathe them until we miss them. See, not every smartphone supports Wireless Emergency Alerts still. We'll save why for another time.

Overnight I went from worrying whether a tornado was headed my way to wondering if it was every going to stop raining. And while my phone didn't once fire off that horrible klaxon and start buzzing to let me know of imminent danger, I wasn't totally in the dark. Google Now also handles emergency weather alerts. Perhaps not with the same sort of urgency, but they do show up in the notification area. (And I've got Google Search — and thus Google Now — turned on in Pebble Notifier, so they occasionally would show on my Pebble, too.)

It's not perfect. I wouldn't rely on it to warn me of an imminent threat. But it's certainly better than nothing. And it's one more reason you should give Google Now a shot if you haven't already.


Reader comments

Here's another reason you should use Google Now


Yes,very nice! I'm just east of you and we got a tornado warning in Okaloosa county. Google Now popped it up. My phone did make an obnoxious warning noise too, but maybe that was another app. I know the notification I looked at was Google Now though.

I'm a little bit south and we got wrecked with rain.Google now is amazing I do with I was able to filter what website create cards(ibtimes ruins it for me)

I haven't had any Google Now alerts on my GS3 used to get them all the time on my galaxy nexus, especially for weather. Luckily I have weatherbug pro that alerts me to weather. I guess TW interferes with Now somehow, all my settings are normal and always shows me news and my sports teams, but not severe storms, tornado's, or anything threatening.

Did you make sure you have the weather updates for work/home on in Google now?

Posted after taking a selfie_

i use Weather Channel, CNN, and my local NBC TV station App. all of these Apps have breaking news alerts. i have not turned on Google Now on my Nexus 5 because of battery drain.

The battery drain on GNow is vastly overrated. Your weather app probably uses as much juice and does far, far less.

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When Now first launched, the battery complaints were justifiable. But, now, it's even more optimized to not drain when sitting idle. The only way I can see Now being a huge battery drain is if the user is running a custom rom.

Do you use the voice activation "OK Google?" I thought it would drain a lot of battery since it is always "listening" for that. I just turned Now on again though because of your post. Going to give it another shot. Thanks!

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I've had Now off for months now on my old Epic Touch (upgrading in July), think I'll give it another go.

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I hope that all of you who are among the 75 MILLION PEOPLE IN DANGER!!! (thanks, Weather Channel) stay safe and dry.

It wasn't a big deal in terms of damage, but I feel sorry for anyone who was flying yesterday. I was stuck at O'Hare for eight hours.

Was lucky or unlucky yesterday. Southwest flew straight out of Houston and into the storm in panama city. Lol. Wasn't too shakey. Been on worse. Had WiFi on on the plane and had severe weather notification for Panama City. Love the notifications.

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There's a TON of damage here in Pensacola. To say nothing of the deaths and destruction from tornadoes in other states. So let's maybe be careful throwing around words like "no big deal."

Yeah, so far, Pensacola, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama got hammered by this crap. And, it hasn't let down yet... My heart does go out to everyone affected.

Hope you guys are doing well. Also hoping we in Tallahassee don't see any nastiness. Its storming now, but not too bad.

Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.

Yeah because your 8hrs are so worse than those near me that have lost their homes, and family members.

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C'mon, now. He didn't say that. Of course, sitting in an airport for 8 hours isn't worse than that. That doesn't mean he has to like sitting in an airport.

I wouldn't say that. Mobile, Alabama got a ridiculous amount of rain yesterday, and, although no one died, the city is prone to flooding, and people have indeed died there after these types of storms. I lived there for six fantastic years, and you've never seen a downpour until you've seen one in Mobile.

Agreed. I've been in the Mobile/Baldwin County area for about 10 years now, and I've never seen rain so bad before I moved down here. This is a whole other level of rainstorm.

I don't think Now notifies anyone in a timely manner that would impact anyone's life decision in a crisis like that.

Actually I was first in my office to get an alert about a tornado last year, the alert came via Google Now. The WEA followed up a minute later.

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Yeah, Google Now is pretty fast with the alerts. When I had the Nexus 5, Now would often be 30 seconds to a few minutes faster with the alerts than the built-in system.

And 30seconds to a minute can mean your life in a tornadic situation.

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I don't use Google now alerts, I have in the past and they worked.But I prefer others such as 1weather,Radar Now,Onguard Weather Alerts all of those are currently on phone.I even tried the Tornado American Red Cross one last night.Luckly there was no bad weather last night after all,Today may be a different story weather wise though.

NBD? I beg to differ... I'm in Pensacola also and I'm looking at my house that now has a foot of water flowing through it.

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I wish Google Now would give me a warning when my wife is heading home so i know to tell my girlfriend she has to about a storm!

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I have location sharing turned on in Google Plus between my wife, my daughter and myself. My wife got a Google Now notification the other day that I had left work. I didn't think to grab a screenshot for proof but I saw it with my own eyes. Kind of creepy to be honest.

But you just said you had location sharing turned on. If it did it without location sharing turned on THAT would be creepy.

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I don't mind them alerting my phone, HOWEVER, I got about 5 notifications of a Flash Flood warning the other night within a 30 minute period. Every time i'd swipe it away, it'd come dinging back. I get it, water is rising. Leave me alone.

I'm not sure if it was because the weather service kept changing the text/time and so it would update me each time, or if there is a bug in their code. Whatever it was, i immediately wanted to disable it.

I noticed the same thing. We were getting one tornado warning after another, so I wasn't sure if it was because of that or because of a bug.

I just left Pensacola, a little over a week ago. My friend is still down there and said that the flooding is really bad. Over by the Naval Air Station, they got about a foot of water on the ground with more seemingly more on the way. Stay safe and dry, Phil!

Just got a Google Now notification the other day when a gas leak was present in my city. They had to evacuate a few neighborhoods and I got the notification from Google Now. Was pleasantly surprised. Glad you and your family made it through the night ok Phil. That picture you posted of Pensacola last night was pretty bad.

Google now is good. But the main problem is how late it is with some stuff. Sometimes two days later it pops up with the football result I asked it to follow. You would hear about the flood the day after you drowned in it.

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I love this feature of Google Now and I've used it along with the Wireless Code Red Alerts that I get locally. I just wish that Google Now was more location specific. There are times that I get flash flood warnings for central Indiana and Illinois and I live in southwestern Indiana. Other than that, it's wonderful.

When we had the quakes just recently in southern California I was pleasantly surprised to see a great assessment of what went down from Google Now. Nice to see this technology being put to real world use for everyone.

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Multiple notifications in Google now last night here in NWFlorida. Used Google now all day yesterday flying home from Texas. Gate changes and weather updates. Google now is something I depend on a lot sometimes. It rarely let's me down.

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You have to be quite invested in the Google ecosystem for it to be effective, and not everybody is.
I don't use Gmail, Docs, G+, Drive, News, Hangouts, or even GCal, so Now just isn't of very much use to me.
I'm an Android user, but I'm in no need of Google services.

I get both the emergency alerts and the Google Now alerts. It's pretty reliable. I'm just glad I could turn that blaring noise off though

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Stay safe Phil, i have Family in Gulf Breeze and my Mother in law has 10 inches of water in her home, such a bad time down there right now. I was shown a pic of the Pensacola Mall, crazy

Remember to keep your phone and/or tablet charged and on you in bad weather. It can save lives before a weather emergency and is a lifeline afterwards.

My best wishes and condolences to all effected by the storms. Having said that, I personally use the accuweather app. Twc app got a lil crazy for my tastes and I've yet to try Google Now, though unless I'm on Ingress, all my location services are off.

Posted via Android Central App. Galaxy Note II

Only partially related, but I want to recommend an app for those living in Alabama. It's called Alabama SAF-T-Net. As a weather app, it's OK, but where it really shines is its alert system. You enter your work and home addresses, and the app will alert you when a severe storm is headed your way. I haven't used the app lately because its initial release caused excessive battery drain, but when I used their old SMS-based service, the alerts were spot on every time. If you got one, you could be assured that a severe storm was only a few minutes away.

I use SAF-T-Net as well. I like it fine. Between Google Now, traditional severe weather alerts, and SAF-T-Net, I'm in the clear for any weather alerts down here.


I heard about the flooding in Pensacola and saw pictures of it also, so I hope you and your family are Ok and remain safe.

Yes very nice. However, due to the weather the past few days my phone and tablet have been going nuts with weather warnings from both the Alerts function on Android and Google now. It's much needed but starting to drive me nuts.

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That's cool that you live in Pensacola! I live in Mobile and we mostly got rain and flooding. There was also a massive sinkhole, but no one got hurt, thankfully. I kept getting emergency alerts in Google Chrome on my laptop as well as on my phone.

Meh, still not convinced to use Google Now. IMHO, there are much better weather apps, such as BeWeather Pro, that work better and also give you more granular control over exactly what type of alerts you can receive.

On a side note; for THE best severe weather coverage around central Alabama, James Spann and the ABC 33/40 weather blog (link below) are top notch! :)

Fuck the government forcing messages to my phone for any reason, ever. It's awesome when a business offers solutions like this that are voluntary.

It will perfect later. And I would definitely love to keep Google now on for my nexus 5, but it wastes to much battery. I like keeping essential things on, such as GPS and NFC to pay at some places. But leaving Google now on would be draining.. Even without GPS and NFC, Google now drains a lot anyways. So until I don't see my battery depleting fast, no Google now yet.

These alerts are a good thing! However!!! I got an Amber Alert this morning at 4am that woke me up and scared the crap out of me!

"We all tend to loathe those emergency alerts that pop up on our phones from time to time — AMBER Alerts..." Yes, damn kids getting abducted, raped, killed etc. What are they thinking interrupting my sleep.

download Fox 35 weather app set your location (anywhere) and notifications and alerts and your good to go. Zoom in to see your house, storm cell tracking and many other options. I live outside Daytona Beach Florida why would I care about an Amber Alert from Jacksonville? I have all of my alerts turned off in my phone settings but keep the severe weather alert on through this app

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