Google Public Alerts is something new that just caught my eye here at Search Engine Academy. Why?

Well, I was eyeballing my favorite station in the whole wide world – the Weather Channel – when I saw that my area was under a tornado alert. I opened a new web browser window, went to Google and typed in this keyword phrase: “Annapolis weather 21403.” And here’s what I got:

Google Public Alert For Severe Weather

I clicked on the link, and here’s what Google offers when you’re area is under a severe weather alert of some sort:

Google Alert For Tornado

Not only does it show you how likely, it includes the entire affected area, and you also get some very helpful information to prepare for the weather event:

I clicked on the “Google Public Alerts” in the upper left corner of the SERP, and the link took me to a page that shows all the current severe weather alerts in the U.S.:

You can sort the alerts by different types – locations, relevance, weather and dates. I haven’t seen this before, and I think it’s very handy to get information fast. But then, that’s what Google is all about, isn’t it – getting you the information you need, with the most relevant results first? The only reason why I turned to the internet was because it wasn’t yet the Local On the 8s, and I wanted to know more right away.

I also suspect the semantic part of the algorithm kicked in. I typed in the weather for my area. Google already had the tornado warning for all of southern Maryland in it’s database, so I probably benefited from semantic intent Google correctly guessed at.

Have you had any recent search queries turn up something you didn’t specifically ask for, but got? I’d be curious to hear about your experiences.