The ubiquity of smartphones has turned them into essential tools for emergency services. Google recently announced that it is rolling out its Android earthquake detection feature in Greece and New Zealand after launching the system in parts of the US.
The two countries are prone to earthquakes, but lack an early warning system.
On Android phones with Google Play Services installed, the accelerometer will be used to sense when an earthquake might be happening. An earthquake detection server collects coarse location data from many Android devices in the region to determine if an earthquake is happening, where it’s happening, and what the magnitude is.
An alert is immediately sent out to every Android device whose owner could be affected by the quake.
“Today we’re announcing an expansion of the Android Earthquake Alerts System that uses both the detection and alerts capabilities, bringing these alerts to Android users in countries that don’t have early warning alert systems. We’re introducing the Android Earthquake Alerts System in Greece and New Zealand, where Android users will receive automatic early warning alerts when there is an earthquake in their area. Users who do not wish to receive these alerts can turn this off in device settings,” said Boone Spooner, Android Product Manager.
Furthermore, the system also provides near-instant information to Google Search about local seismic events when users search “Earthquake near me.”