Google today announced that it is utilizing the massive reach of its Android platform to build the world’s largest earthquake detection network.
The Android Earthquake Alerts System works anywhere in the world and turns every Android device into a mini seismometer.
“The public infrastructure to detect and alert everyone about an earthquake is costly to deploy,” Google’s principal software engineer of Android Marc Stogaitis said in a blog post today.
Not everyone is signed up to receive text alerts, for example, so if the early warning system is built into the OS, these messages can reach more people.
Google first collaborated with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to send these alerts to Android devices in California via the USGS’ ShakeAlert system.
This uses information gathered from more than 700 seismometers across the state to figure out when an earthquake is taking place.
But it can be costly or challenging to install such a network in other impacted areas around the world, which is where the Android Earthquake Alerts System comes in.
The results of this work will for now be displayed when you look for “earthquake” or “earthquake near me” to show you if Android phones around you are reporting similar activity.
Earthquake detection system will be rolled out through Google Mobile Services, a full OS update will not be required. It also means that Android phones in China and Huawei phones that lack Google Mobile Services will not be part of Google’s earthquake detection system.