Google to launch Android Earthquake Alerts in India

Emre Çitak
Sep 28, 2023
Google Android, Security

Earthquakes, one of the most frequent natural disasters globally, have the potential to cause widespread destruction and loss of life. In such dire circumstances, having advanced warning systems can be the difference between safety and disaster.

The Android Earthquake Alerts System represents a revolutionary approach to earthquake detection and notification. Utilizing the sensors embedded in Android smartphones, this innovative system can detect and estimate earthquake activity.

This cutting-edge technology has already been deployed in numerous countries worldwide, offering citizens early warnings when seismic activity begins and now Google announced that they are launching Android Earthquake Alerts in India in a blog post.

Google Android Earthquake Alerts India
Google announced that they are launching Android Earthquake Alerts in India

Android Earthquake Alerts launched in India

Today marks a significant milestone as we collaborate with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Centre for Seismology (NCS), Ministry of Earth Sciences, to introduce the Android Earthquake Alerts System in India.

With this launch, Google's collective aim is to provide Android users across India with automatic early warning alerts when an earthquake occurs in their vicinity.

The Android Earthquake Alerts System is rolling out to all Android users with version 5 or higher in India over the upcoming week. To receive these vital alerts, users must ensure they have Wi-Fi and/or cellular data connectivity, as well as both Android Earthquake Alerts and location settings enabled.

Users who prefer not to receive these alerts can conveniently deactivate Earthquake Alerts in their device settings.

Moreover, the system also offers valuable information via Google Search concerning local seismic events and safety measures when users search for queries like "Earthquake near me".

Google describes the Android Earthquake Alerts as follows:

How do Android Earthquake Alerts work?

Each Android smartphone is equipped with miniature accelerometers that can function as mini seismometers. When a smartphone is plugged in and charging, it has the capacity to detect the initial stages of earthquake tremors.

When multiple smartphones detect such shaking simultaneously, Google's server can utilize this data to estimate the occurrence of an earthquake, including its epicenter and magnitude. Subsequently, the server swiftly dispatches alerts to nearby smartphones.

The speed of internet signals far surpasses the propagation rate of earthquake vibrations through the ground, ensuring that these alerts often reach smartphones several seconds before the onset of severe shaking.

Read alsoApple's SOS feature saved a family's life in the Maui fires.

Warning based on magnitude

The Android Earthquake Alerts System provides two distinct notification types designed to inform and protect users during earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.5 or greater.

  1. Be Aware Alert: This alert is tailored to provide a heads-up for mild shaking and offers additional information upon tapping the notification. It is exclusively sent to users who will experience MMI 3 & 4 shaking during an earthquake of magnitude 4.5 or greater. The alert respects the volume, Do Not Disturb, and notification settings on the user's device
  2. Take Action Alert: Designed to capture immediate attention before moderate to severe shaking occurs, this alert empowers users to take protective measures. It is dispatched exclusively to users who will experience MMI 5+ shaking during an earthquake of magnitude 4.5 or greater. The Take Action Alert breaks through Do Not Disturb settings, activates the device screen, and emits a loud sound to ensure it is noticed
Google Android Earthquake Alerts India
Android Earthquake Alerts shows two distinct alerts depending on the magnitude of the earthquake - Screenshot from Google

Google's mission is to complement the government's ongoing efforts in earthquake alerts, providing citizens with the advance notice necessary to protect themselves.

In India, Google has been working closely with the NDMA to provide users with valuable safety information related to natural disasters such as floods and cyclones on Google Search and Maps.


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