Google has released its Earthquake Alerts System in India. It is a free service that informs Android users about earthquakes before the tremor hits the region and the shaking starts. Although the service has been available in the United States since 2020, it took some time for the California-based tech giant to release it in the Indian subcontinent. Here’s everything you need to know about Google’s Earthquake Alerts System, how it works, and what you need to do to receive such alerts on your Android phone.
How Google’s Earthquake Alert System Works
In India, Google has partnered with the National Center for Seismology (NCS) and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for the Earthquake Alert System. It works with the help of motion-detecting sensors in a smartphone called accelerometers. The sensor can also detect vibrations and speed, “signals that indicate an earthquake might be happening.” If an Android phone detects something similar to an Earthquake, it sends a signal to the detection server and its location.
Server Cross-Checks Information From Other Phones In The Area
The server then cross-checks the information from other phones in the area to determine if it’s an earthquake or a false alarm. If a significant number of phones are experiencing the same thing, the server sends an alert to other phones in the area about the earthquake. In other words, Google’s Earthquake Alert System uses smartphone accelerometers as mini-seismometers to crowdsource information about an earthquake.
Google Sends Two Types Of Alerts
Now, Google sends two types of alerts to users: Be Aware Alert and Take Action Alert. These alerts depend upon the intensity of the earthquakes. The Be Aware Alert shows up to users who may experience MMI 3 & 4 shaking during an earthquake of magnitude 4.5 or higher. If a user has a lower volume setting or active Do Not Disturb mode, the alert respects them.
On the other hand, the Take Action Alert breaks through low volume or active Do Not Disturb mode to get attention and asks users to take action (drop down on the floor, take cover under something, and hold until the tremor passes) before they experience heavy shaking. This type of alert is sent to users who may experience MMI 5+ shaking during an earthquake of magnitude 4.5 or higher.
Here’s How You Can Enable Earthquake Alert System
Tapping on either of the alerts will provide users with earthquake safety information with simple steps that can help. It also provides a detailed map of the earthquake’s location and magnitude. To enable, users should head to Settings > Safety & emergency > Earthquake alerts and turn the feature on. Alternatively, users can go to Settings > Location > Advanced > Earthquake alerts and enable the feature.