Google decides to turn Android smartphones into largest earthquake detection system! Here’s how it works

By: |
August 12, 2020 6:56 PM

Google said that it first collaborated with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to provide alerts.

ShakeAlert made use of signals from over 700 seismometres.ShakeAlert made use of signals from over 700 seismometres.

Google’s earthquake detector: Android-based Google smartphones to now turn mini-seismographs! Google on Tuesday announced that with people living in earthquake prone regions, an early warning could help them prepare. However, the public infrastructure for detection of an earthquake and its alert system would be very expensive. Thus, the tech giant in a statement said that it saw the opportunity to provide people with timely updates using Android itself.

Google said that it first collaborated with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to provide alerts regarding earthquakes directly to people’s smartphones using ShakeAlert, which has been developed by the leading seismologists in the US. ShakeAlert made use of signals from over 700 seismometres installed across the state by the Cal OES, the USGS, the California Institute of Technology and the University of California Berkeley. The statement added that even a few seconds could help people prepare for the upcoming tremors.

Google: Building the largest earthquake detection network

The tech giant added that while California has installed a ground network of seismometres, it is not possible to do so everywhere else. Therefore, the tech giant said it would use the reach of the Android platform to detect earthquakes. It announced that starting Tuesday, all Android phones across the world could become a part of the Android Earthquake Alert System. This would mean that all the Android smartphones would act as mini-seismometres, making the largest earthquake detection system in the world.

The giant explained that all the smartphones were fitted with tiny accelerometres which can sense signals indicating the occurrence of an earthquake. In case the phone detects what it believes to be an earthquake, it would send a signal to Google’s earthquake detection server, along with the location where the shaking took place. The server would then combine the information received from several phones to determine whether an earthquake was actually occurring or not.

The statement stated that Google would start with this technology to share an accurate view of the impacted area via Google Search. When the users would look for ‘earthquake’ or ‘earthquake near me’, they would be shown relevant results from their area, coupled with important and helpful information on what to do after an earthquake.

Google said that as of now, the giant is starting with earthquake alerts in California, since it already has a great seismometre system in place. It added that over the course of the next year, the users of other states and countries would also receive earthquake alerts using Android’s phone-based earthquake detection system.

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