Google has introduced a new Earthquake Alerts System for Android smartphones in India, leveraging smartphone sensors to provide early warnings in the event of an earthquake. Developed in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Centre for Seismology (NCS), this feature uses smartphone accelerometers as “mini seismometers” to detect and estimate the severity of earthquakes. The system sends automated early warning alerts to Android users in India and is designed to provide timely information and potentially life-saving notifications.
Smartphone Sensors as Early Warning Tools: The Android Earthquake Alerts System harnesses the power of the accelerometer found in Android smartphones, allowing them to detect the initial tremors of an earthquake. When multiple phones in an area detect earthquake-like shaking simultaneously, Google’s servers can use this data to estimate the occurrence, epicenter, and magnitude of the earthquake. Users receive alerts on their smartphones, often before the severe shaking begins, thanks to the rapid transmission of data over the Internet.
Localized and Multilingual Alerts: Google has tailored the earthquake alerts to be accessible to users in India by supporting Indian languages on the Android platform. This ensures that users across the country can receive alerts in their preferred language.
Leveraging Android’s Global Network: Google’s approach utilizes the vast network of over two billion Android phones worldwide, effectively creating a massive earthquake detection network. These phones act as sensors, detecting earthquake vibrations and notifying Android users in affected regions.
Immediate and Informative Alerts: In the case of earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.5 or higher, Google sends two types of alerts: the “Be Aware” alert and the “Take Action” alert. The “Be Aware” alert is issued for light shaking and provides additional information upon tapping the notification. It respects the user’s volume, Do Not Disturb (DND), and notification settings. The “Take Action” alert is meant to warn users before they experience moderate to heavy shaking. It overrides DND settings, activates the screen, and emits a loud noise to capture the user’s attention.
User Requirements: To receive these alerts, users must have an Android smartphone running Android 5 or later, equipped with Wi-Fi or cellular data connectivity. Additionally, users need to enable both Android Earthquake Alerts and location settings on their smartphones.
Rollout: Google is rolling out this new alert system to all eligible Android users in India, aiming to enhance public safety and provide timely information during seismic events. The launch of the Android Earthquake Alerts System in India demonstrates technology’s potential to assist in disaster preparedness and response, ultimately contributing to saving lives and minimizing damage during earthquakes.