Signals detected by a phone are sent to an earthquake detection server, along with a coarse location of where the shaking occurred. The signals from numerous other phones are then combined to assess if an earthquake is happening.

Android Earthquake Alerts System.

Android Earthquake Alerts System.
  | Photo Credit: Google


Signals detected by a phone are sent to an earthquake detection server, along with a coarse location of where the shaking occurred. The signals from numerous other phones are then combined to assess if an earthquake is happening.

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Google on Tuesday said that Android phones can be part of its earthquake detection system to provide timely alerts and information.

Millions of Android phones can serve as mini seismometers to gradually develop an Android Earthquake Alerts System, across the world, Google said.

“All smartphones come with tiny accelerometers that can sense signals that indicate an earthquake might be happening,” Marc Stogaitis, Principal Software Engineer, Android, said in a statement.

Signals detected by a phone are sent to an earthquake detection server, along with a coarse location of where the shaking occurred. The signals from numerous other phones are then combined to assess if an earthquake is happening.

The tech giant says initially it will use this technology to share a fast, accurate view of the impacted area on Google Search.

Earthquake information on Google Search.

Earthquake information on Google Search.
 
| Photo Credit: Google

So, when people search “earthquake” or “earthquake near me,” they will be presented with relevant location specific information, along with helpful resources on what to do after an earthquake.

The company is deploying the earthquake alert system in California, where it is collaborating with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to send alerts, using its ShakeAlert directly on Android devices in the state.

The earthquake alerts will be available in more states and countries over the coming year, Google said.

“A few seconds of warning can make a difference in giving you time to drop, cover, and hold on before the shaking arrives,” Stogaitis said.