The Android Earthquake Alerts System will be rolled out to all Android 5+ users in India during the coming week
The system uses the accelerometers of Android smartphones as mini seismometers to detect an earthquake
Google has partnered with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Seismology Center (NSC) for the system
In a significant move to improve disaster preparedness and early warning systems, Google has introduced earthquake alerts on Android devices in India.
“…We’ve developed the Android Earthquake Alerts System, which uses sensors in Android smartphones to detect and estimate earthquakes. This is already deployed in many countries to provide people with an early warning when earthquake shaking begins,” said Google in a blog post on Wednesday (September 27).
The tech giant has partnered with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Seismology Center (NSC) for the system. Google is working closely with the NDMA to provide users with helpful safety information about natural disasters such as floods and cyclones on Google Search and Maps.
The Android Earthquake Alerts System will be rolled out to all Android 5+ users in India during the coming week. Users must have an internet connection and activate their location settings and Android Earthquake Alerts to receive notifications.
“We’re proud to further our association with the NDMA and the NSC to bring the Android Earthquake Alerts system to India,” Google added.
How Does It Work?
The system uses the accelerometers of Android smartphones as mini seismometers. When a phone is charging or is generally at rest, Google’s system can detect the very beginning of an earthquake via the vibrations detected by the accelerometer present in the smartphone.
Google’s servers calculate if smartphones around the initial detection are recording similar shaking events to see if an earthquake is happening and issue warnings. The system can also detect the characteristics of the event, such as its epicentre and magnitude.
This way, Google claims, it sends alerts seconds before severe shaking hits a location, allowing people precious time to take cover. The system also provides information about local seismic events and safety measures through Google Search.
Given that India’s smartphone market is dominated by Android smartphones, the tech giant can get a vast set of data points to accurately predict an earthquake.
The earthquake alert system is one of the several initiatives by Google to improve crisis response in the world. The tech giant has also developed systems for flood forecasting, wildfire mapping and hurricanes.
Android also allows Pixel users to store emergency contacts for first responders to call and also bundles in a personal safety app on some devices.
Google’s earthquake system comes to India in a series of India-focused initiatives by the tech giant. From generative AI in Search to open-source research models and its gaming platform Play Games on PC, Google has been testing the waters with its innovation in the country.