Google launched its Android Earthquake Alerts System in India on Wednesday—allowing users to receive early warnings about earthquakes in their area so they can take measures to protect themselves from impending danger.
To launch the same, Google says that it consulted with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Seismology Center (NSC) in India, and it uses sensors in Android smartphones to detect earthquakes. The alerts will reportedly be sent in Indian languages that Android devices already support.
How Google’s Earthquake Detection Technology Works
Google notes that “each Android smartphone is equipped with tiny accelerometers that can act as mini seismometers,” and when an Android device is plugged in and charging, it has the ability to detect the “very beginnings of earthquake shaking.” However, one report isn’t enough, so if Google detects that many phones have detected earthquake-like shaking around the same time, Google’s servers can identify an earthquake event and even determine its characteristics, such as its epicenter and magnitude.
Considering that signals on the Internet travel at the speed of light, Google will alert users in an area before the shaking affects them—allowing them to reach safety.
How To Enable This Feature
This feature will be rolling out to all Android 5.0+ devices soon, and to enable earthquake detection alerts, follow these steps:
- Go to your device’s Settings app.
- Navigate to Safety & Emergency > Earthquake Alerts. If you don’t find Safety & Emergency, tap on Location > Advanced > Earthquake Alerts.
- Now, you can turn on Earthquake Alerts from here.