Google's Innovation: Android Earthquake Alert System Makes its Debut in India

30 Sep 2023

Google's Innovation: Android Earthquake Alert System Makes its Debut in India Image

Google, the tech giant, once again proves its commitment towards the safety of its users by launching an innovative earthquake warning system for Android devices in India. The system utilizes smartphone sensors, like accelerometers, transforming them into mini seismometers to detect seismic activities. The unique collaboration of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Seismology Center (NSC) with Google has made this system possible. It is specifically designed to offer early earthquake alerts to Android users in areas prone to seismic activity. The noteworthy feature of this system is that these alerts will be available in various local Indian languages supported by Android.

The alert system sends two kinds of notifications to the users – “beware” and “take action.” When a user experiences MMI 3 and 4 aftershocks during earthquakes of magnitude 4.5 or more, “beware” alerts are sent. These alerts are displayed on the screen, but no sound is played if the phone is on Silent mode or Do Not Disturb mode. However, if a user experiences MMI 5+ shaking during a magnitude 4.5 earthquake, an alert will be sent, bypassing the system’s notification settings, including Do Not Disturb, and playing a loud sound. This feature ensures that users are well aware of the danger and can take the necessary precautions.

Moreover, the alert system is not just about the warning; it goes one step further by suggesting to users what actions they can take to ensure their safety. This could be as simple as taking cover under a sturdy piece of furniture. This thoughtful feature stems from Google's commitment to its user's safety and well-being. The system detects likely earthquakes by noting seismic activity in an area through multiple Android phones. Google maintains that the alerts often arrive a few seconds before the actual shaking begins, giving users precious time to prepare and protect themselves.

This is not the first time Google has introduced such a system. In 2020, the tech giant had launched Android earthquake alerts for people in California. To avail of these alerts, users must have a device running Android 5 or later and have either Wi-Fi or cellular data connectivity. Moreover, users are required to enable location settings on their devices. To start receiving earthquake alerts, users can navigate to Settings > Security & Emergency > Earthquake Warning on their phones. Alternatively, they can also enable earthquake alerts through Settings > Location > Advanced > Earthquake Alerts.

In conclusion, Google’s new earthquake alert system is a welcome addition to Android devices in India. It shows the company's dedication to leveraging technology for the safety and convenience of its users. In addition to earthquake alerts, Google issues AI-powered flood alerts across all Indian regions, a feature introduced in 2020 after a successful pilot in Patna, Bihar in 2018. With the introduction of the earthquake alert system, Google enhances its commitment to safeguarding users from natural disasters, making technology a valuable tool for disaster management.