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Earthquake alerts from Android are expanding all over the world




Google is rolling out a new earthquake alert and detection system that uses the huge number of Android devices in the wild, and now it’s set to expand to more markets after landing on phones in New Zealand and Greece earlier this year. Starting today, Android Earthquake Alerts System is available in seven other markets: Turkey, Philippines, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Furthermore, Google promises that “most countries” will have it by 2022.

Rolling out this feature is a bit complicated to discuss since Google has two versions of this: earthquake alerts based on data and third party alerts based on crowdsourcing data collected from Android phones in an area. Today’s announcement is for the last (cooler) feature.

This system uses the vast network of Android phones to collect information, such as how Google pulls traffic data based on the traffic or congestion of Android devices in an area. In a way, every Android phone is like a little seismometer, due to all the sensors inside. Google harnesses this data in aggregate to detect early indications of an earthquake and send alerts to those who may be affected.

Today, Android Earthquake Alerts is expanding to Turkey, Philippines, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Google is also promising to expand the feature more aggressively than it has so far, rolling out to “most countries” in the first half of 2022. So far, the crowdsourcing platform has only been available in New Zealand and Greece. Android earthquake alerts in places like Oregon, Washington, and California are based on ShakeAlert data from the US Geological Survey, and it remains to be seen if the crowdsourcing system will come to the US.

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