Google has unveiled an innovative earthquake alert system for Android users in India. This system leverages the smartphone’s built-in sensors, like accelerometers, turning the devices into makeshift seismometers. These sensors are capable of picking up tremors, which is pretty cool when you think about it.
On Wednesday, Google shared the exciting news, mentioning that the creation of this system involved collaboration with some of India’s key organizations – the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Seismology Center (NSC). The aim? To give Android users in potentially affected regions a heads-up about impending quakes. To make sure everyone understands, the alerts will be available in various Indian languages, depending on what’s supported by Android.
The alert system isn’t one-size-fits-all. Google has categorized them into two: “Be Aware” and “Take Action”. Now, if you’re in an area with MMI 3 & 4 shaking during an earthquake of magnitude 4.5 or more, you’ll receive the “Be Aware” alert. If your phone’s on silent or in Do Not Disturb mode, you’ll see the alert, but there won’t be any sound.
However, the game changes with more severe quakes. For those experiencing MMI 5+ shaking from an earthquake that’s at least 4.5 in magnitude, the alert becomes more aggressive. It’ll make itself heard, cutting through even the Do Not Disturb setting with a loud alarm. And it’s not just about alerting; it advises users on safety measures, like ducking under a table for protection.
Google’s system is pretty smart. It can identify a potential earthquake when multiple Android phones in a particular region detect seismic activity. And here’s the cool part – these alerts can arrive several seconds before the actual shaking starts.
For some context, this isn’t Google’s first rodeo. Back in 2020, they rolled out the Android Earthquake Alerts for Californians. If you’re keen on using this feature, make sure you’re on Android 5 or a newer version and have either Wi-Fi or mobile data on. Also, you’ll need to have your location settings switched on. Activating the alerts is a breeze. Head over to Settings, look for Safety & emergency, and from there, select Earthquake alerts. If you like shortcuts, you can also go via Settings > Location > Advanced > Earthquake alerts.
But Google’s commitment to safety doesn’t stop at earthquakes. They’ve been providing AI-driven flood alerts across India. This initiative began as a pilot project in 2018 in Patna, the capital city of Bihar. Seeing its potential, Google expanded the service, covering all of India by 2020.
In a nutshell, Google is leveraging technology to help users stay safe, informed, and prepared for natural disasters. And with these alerts, they’re making a real difference, one notification at a time.