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Google introduces Android Earthquake Alerts in India; Know all about it

September 30, 2023 8:07 AM IST

India | Disaster management | Google | Android Earthquake Alerts

Google has introduced the Android Earthquake Alerts System for users in India, enabling them to receive earthquake alerts and take precautionary measures. This system utilizes the accelerometers in Android smartphones to detect seismic activity and provide advance warnings.

The Android Earthquake Alerts System has already been implemented in several countries, offering early earthquake alerts when tremors begin. Google is now rolling out this system in India in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Seismology Center (NSC).

This innovative system transforms Android phones into miniature earthquake detectors by utilizing the device’s accelerometer as a seismograph. When a phone is stationary and charging, it can detect initial earthquake signs. If multiple phones detect similar shaking indicative of an earthquake simultaneously, Google’s servers can identify the earthquake’s location and intensity.

How does the alert system work?

Subsequently, alerts are dispatched to nearby phones, categorized based on the earthquake’s magnitude. The ‘Be Aware Alert’ is sent to users experiencing MMI 3 & 4 shaking during an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.5 or higher. For stronger tremors of magnitude 4.5 or greater with MMI 5+ shaking, the ‘Take Action Alert’ is issued. In the case of more intense earthquakes, these alerts override Do Not Disturb settings, activate the phone screen, and emit a loud sound. The alert also provides safety recommendations, such as taking cover under a table.

Google’s press release explains that internet signals travel at the speed of light, much faster than earthquake shaking propagating through the ground. Consequently, these alerts often reach smartphones several seconds before the onset of severe shaking.

Furthermore, Google has collaborated with the NDMA to furnish users with valuable information regarding other natural disasters like floods and storms through Google Search and Maps. By simply searching for terms like “Earthquake near me” on Google, users can access pertinent information.

Know how to enable Android Earthquake Alerts

The Android Earthquake Alerts System will be accessible to Android users in India with devices running Android 5 or higher. This feature will be rolled out over the next week. To receive these alerts, users must have Wi-Fi or cellular data connectivity and ensure that both the Android Earthquake Alerts and location settings are enabled. For individuals who do not wish to receive these alerts, there is an option to disable Earthquake Alerts in device settings.

Google’s collaboration with the NDMA aims to complement government efforts by providing timely earthquake alerts and safety information. In the past, Google has partnered with the NDMA to offer safety information to users concerning natural disasters like floods and cyclones through Google Search and Maps. The introduction of the Android Earthquake Alerts System underscores Google’s dedication to enhancing disaster preparedness and response in India. This initiative empowers Android users in India to receive early earthquake warnings, enabling them to take timely precautions and ensure their safety and that of their loved ones during seismic events.

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Last updated on: 24th July 2024