Last August, Google announced that they were launching an Android earthquake alert system in partnership with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and powered by ShakeAlert. Basically what it does is turn smartphones into a kind of seismometer and also send alerts faster and almost instantly to Google Search. Now they are extending the system to Android users in Greece and New Zealand. This means that users in the two countries will receive early warnings when there is an earthquake in their areas.
The system can use the accelerometer of Android devices to detect the initial P waves generated by earthquakes. It will then send a city-level location to Google’s earthquake detection server. The system will then verify the information before sending a loud notification with information such as the location and magnitude before the S wave arrives. Users will automatically receive the early warning alerts if it is in their area.
Android’s earthquake alert system will now be expanded to Greece and New Zealand. These two countries do not have their own early warning systems, which is why Google says they are the first to expand and therefore we will probably see more countries get the system eventually. The warning screen that users will receive is the same as that of the USGS ShakeAlert system that was launched in California, Oregon, and is scheduled to launch in Washington in this manner.
The system will also provide this earthquake information to Google Search, so when you search for something like “earthquake near me” to confirm that there is indeed one, you will get the information. Users who do not want to receive the alerts can disable it in the device settings. The detection system has been active for a few months, but now they will also be able to send alerts.
Greece and New Zealand will actually be the first countries to have the detection and alert capabilities of the Android earthquake alert system. They hope this will help people stay safe if they can get advance notice.