Last month, Google rolled out the Android Earthquake Alerts System in seven more countries ahead of a global launch within the next year. The Philippines is one of those places where earthquake warnings are enabled, and yesterday Android users took advantage of such alerts.
According to the US Geological Survey, a 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck Tingli, the Philippines, yesterday in the early morning hours. Reuters reported how the shaking “lasted about a minute” and some woke up.
Others have been notified of the quake approaching a few seconds before it starts shaking by erupting their Android phones. The system’s success was captured by a thread on Reddit today and several reports on Twitter shortly after the event.
Google built the system to create the “world’s largest earthquake detection network” using technology and sensors that already exist on a large scale. This comes because a conventional network of ground seismometers (such as in California and the US West Coast) is not always feasible. If such systems exist, Android displays the warnings provided by the government.
But kudos to the android/google notification about the earthquake. It was accurate as hell! After receiving this notification, after seconds of lumindol nga. Huhsush keep everyone safe!
– Wayne (@sunlightmirae) July 23, 2021
Another earthquake tweet here:
I am very amazed at how the phone emergency notification on Android earthquake alert system.
I literally heard the notification. Read it and 10 seconds later feel it #EarthquakePH pic.twitter.com/v2ZhbaekmZ
– 🍣Ian m.🍱 (@ianmeji_) July 23, 2021
The alert system works using your device’s accelerometer to detect the non-destructive initial wave. Your phone then sends a city-wide location, not including a zip code or street address, to Google’s earthquake detection server. Reports are checked before a loud notification is sent that includes map, volume, key reminders, coverage, and retention. Hopefully it will come a few seconds before the S wave arrives.
It is enabled automatically, but users can opt out from the Android Settings app > Location > Advanced Options > Earthquake Alerts.
Google announced the system in August of 2020 with an initial testing period before launching in two countries in April of this year. It will become globally available in places where Android devices running Google Play Services are widely available within the next year. The company started in countries prone to high seismic risk.
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