Google Taps Billions of Android Devices to Help Detect Earthquakes

Joanna Estrada
August 13, 2020

It will be teaming up with the United States Geological Survey and the California Office of Emergency Services within the state. When Google is confident that the Android Earthquake Alerts System is accurate enough, it will actively send out warnings and alerts to users directly.

"'With the growing cost of natural disasters worldwide, we saw an opportunity to use Android to provide people with timely, helpful quake information when they search, as well as a few seconds warning to get themselves and their loved ones to safety if needed", Google shared in a blog post. And for this reason, Google is leveraging the massive Android userbase to detect seismic activity and build an alert system around it.

It is the simplicity yet powerfulness of the Google Phone app that makes it a good replacement for the default dialer. In other words, your Android device can act as a "mini seismometer" using the accelerometer. Those further away would get a smaller notification designed not to stir them from their sleep, while people too close to be warned will get information about post-quake safety, such as checking gas valves. Relying on ShakeAlert technology, it is involving 700 seismometers across the city to offer early natural disaster detection.

Google will be rolling out the calendar functionality over the next month to devices running Android 6.0 and above.

But what if the required infrastructure isn't going to pop-up in areas near you in the near future? This signal will also include a "coarse" location where the shaking was experienced. All Android smartphones have accelerometers built-in to detect their movements. But the company adds that soon, the Android Earthquake Alerts System will be making its way to more regions and countries across the globe.

Marc Stogaitis, chief software engineer for Google's Android system, said: 'It'd be great if there were just seismometer-based systems everywhere that could detect earthquakes. When you search "earthquake" or "earthquake near me", for example, Google will show relevant results for your area as well as helpful resources on what actions to take after an quake. So, we would advise you to search the Google Phone app on search. So while you can show off to your Android-using friends and family members the Google Phone app (beta) on your non-Pixel Android device, not all of the app's features might work. It has all the features like call screen, Google Duo video calling, spam protection, caller ID, and much more.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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