Last August, Google announced that they were launching an Android Earthquake Alerts System in partnership with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and powered by ShakeAlert. Basically what it does is to turn smartphones into a sort-of seismometer and also send alerts faster and almost near-instant information to Google Search. Now they’re expanding the system to Android users in Greece and New Zealand. This means users in the two countries will receive early warning alerts when there’s an earthquake in their areas.
The system is able to use the accelerometer of Android devices to detect the initial P-waves generated by earthquakes. It will then send a city-level location to the earthquake detection server of Google. The system will then verify the information before sending a loud notification with information like location and magnitude before the S-wave hits. Users will then receive automatically the early warning alerts if it’s in their area.
The Android Earthquake Alerts System will now be expanding to Greece and New Zealand. These two countries don’t have their own early warning alert systems so Google says they’re the first in the expansion and so we will probably see more countries getting the system eventually. The warning screen that users will receive is the same as the USGS ShakeAlert system that launched in California, Oregon, and is set to launch in Washington this way.
The system will also provide this earthquake information to Google Search so when you search for something like “earthquake near me” to confirm that there is indeed one, you’ll get the information. Users that don’t want to receive the alerts will be able to turn it off in the device settings. The detection system has actually been live for some months now but now they will be able to send alerts as well.
Greece and New Zealand will actually be the first countries to have both the detection and alert capabilities of the Android Earthquake Alerts System. They are hoping that this will help people stay safe if they will be able to get advanced notice.