While announcing the new India-first features, Google Maps Product Manager Taylah Hasaballah said, "We at Google are focused on building Maps features that will help in providing a more relevant, accurate, and reliable experience for commuters".
For example, if you live in the path of a hurricane, a notification card will appear in Google Maps days prior with the projected path and what time it will arrive.
Along with quake shakemaps, Google Maps will eventually be alerting users about other natural disasters impacting navigation such as hurricanes and floods. This is known as a "hurricane forecast cone"-just like the ones you see on television weather forecasts".
"This card will direct you to a hurricane forecast cone, which shows the prediction of the storm's trajectory along with information about what time it's likely to hit certain areas, so you can use this information to plan how to react", Google explains.
In the case of earthquakes, tapping on the card after one has occurred will reveal a shakemap showing the epicenter, the magnitude, and how large of an area was affected. In an quake, you'll see a graphic that tells you the epicenter and magnitude.
The post further goes on to say that if a user is on navigation mode, then Google Maps will immediately alert them if their route has been affected by any natural disaster. You can also see the rickshaw meter estimate, and departure times for your transit connection.
Google appears to be on the cusp of a global rollout of the optional feature, with reports it is available for users in parts of South America, Europe, the US, Australia, India, and Taiwan. The company expects to launch that feature later this summer. This includes natural disaster shakemaps, to be rolled out in the next few weeks on Android, iOS, desktop, and mobile web. Google specifically calls out India for flood forecasts, where they hope to help reduce flood-related fatalities by getting this information to users who'll need it.