Google announces earthquake alert system for Android devices

Google has today announced a new technology for alert systems on the Android devices which will serve as a “mini seismometer” to detect an earthquake and display information about the same when the user searches on Google.

The service is currently limited to Android devices in California. Explaining the working of this technology, the company has said that phones contain “tiny accelerometers that can sense signals that indicate an earthquake might be happening.”


While the technology is currently limited, Google says that eventually, the system will automatically send warnings to people who could be impacted. Currently, it’s in the first stage where the company has partnered with the United States Geological Survey and the California Office of Emergency Services.

In the second stage, Google will show localized results in Google searches for earthquakes based on the data it detects from Android phones. And then in the third stage, the company will actively send out earthquake warnings to people who live in areas where there are not seismometer-based warning systems.

Google processes data collected from thousands of Android devices using algorithms to determine whether an earthquake is happening. The company claims that its system is also capable of locating the epicenter and determining the strength of an earthquake.

The company is also planning to have different levels of alerts for different types of earthquakes. It has also consulted seismologists on the design of the core system as well as on how the alerts should appear.

As Google is rolling out this new feature through Google Mobile Services, there’s no need to update the operating system on the smartphone. This means that the feature won’t be coming to Huawei-powered smartphones as well as devices in China which doesn’t use Google Mobile Services.