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Google wants to build the biggest earthquake detection network with Android

By Cookie Monster - on 11 Aug 2020, 11:00pm

Google wants to build the biggest earthquake detection network with Android

Screenshot taken from Android's YouTube on "Earthquake alerts, now part of Android".

Google just announced that it is building the world's biggest earthquake detection network with Android.

Starting in California, Google is collaborating with the U.S Geological Survey (USGS) and California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to send earthquake alerts to Android devices in the country. The earthquake alert will appear as a fullscreen notification and should provide several seconds of advance warning for Android users to take cover.

The earthquake alerts will be powered by the ShakeAlert system which relies on signals from more than 700 seismometers installed across the country by USGS, Cal OES, University of California Berkeley, and the California Institute of Technology. 

As it is not feasible to install ground networks of seismometers around the world, Google is leveraging the reach of Android's platform to help detect earthquakes. The tiny accelerometer in the smartphone can detect signals that suggest an imminent earthquake, and send the location and signals to Google's earthquake detection server. The server will combine information from multiple phones to determine if an earthquake is happening.

For this feature to work, Google Location Services have to be enabled via Settings > Location > Google Location Accuracy. Google states that the earthquake alerts will be coming to more states and countries over the coming year.

Source: Google