Google Android phone to assist with earthquake alerts and searches including Samsung and iPhone | AfriGlob

Google Android phone to assist with earthquake alerts and searches including Samsung and iPhone

Google to assist earthquake alerts and searches


Google is adding earthquake warning tools to users of the Android smartphone mobile operating system, iPhone including the Samsung Galaxy series.

Google says it will start working with the U.S. Geological Survey to send earthquake alerts to Android devices, starting in California. Android will send alerts to phones in California from the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system.


"With the growing cost of natural disasters worldwide, we saw an opportunity to use Android to provide people with timely, helpful earthquake information when they search, as well as a few seconds warning to get themselves and their loved ones to safety if needed," Google said in a blog post.

Apple's iPhones don't have alerts built into the device, but instead rely on apps to get the word out after tremors begin.

Google notes that not all quakes are in California, as evidenced by last weekend's series of tremors in Virginia and North Carolina. The company says Android phones can be turned into mini seismometers to detect when earthquakes occur and to send advanced signals to the alerting system.

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"We call this the Android Earthquake Alerting System," Google says in a blog post. "As a first step, the earthquakes that this system detects will be used to improve the speed and accuracy of earthquake information on Google Search. And in the near future, we'll use this technology to send early alerts to Android users in impacted areas."

Most smartphones come with tiny accelerometers that can can sense earthquakes, Google says.

"They’re even sensitive enough to detect the P-wave, which is the first wave that comes out of an earthquake and is typically much less damaging than the S-wave which comes afterward," Google said.

If the phone detects something that it thinks may be an earthquake, it sends a signal to Google's earthquake detection server, along with the location of where the shaking occurred. The server then combines information from many phones to figure out whether an earthquake is occurring.

"We’re essentially racing the speed of light (which is roughly the speed at which signals from a phone travel) against the speed of an earthquake," Google says.

Google says that if you feel the earth start to move and you wonder whether it's a quake, you'll now be able to look up “earthquake” or “earthquake near me” in Google's search bar and find relevant results for your area, along with resources on what to do afterward.

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