Tech Giant Google Transforms Android Phones into Earthquake Detectors

Date: 2020-08-13   Author: Pankaj Singh  Category: #news

Tech Giant Google Transforms Android Phones into Earthquake Detectors

American multinational technology company, Google has decided to transform its Android phones into earthquake sensors. The alerting feature was first rolled out in California. Google will start working with the U.S. Geological Survey and send the earthquake alerts to Android devices, which will further send them to the phones.

Land-based sensors are used in countries like Japan, Mexico, and California to warn people further away from the epicenter about the tremor and give them time to save their life.

Developing countries fall short of traditional sensors. If Google’s move towards detecting and alerting proves fruitful, a greater number of people can be warned. 

Principal Software Engineer, Marc Stogaitis stated that Google started the effort 4.5 years ago to test if the accelerometers in phones could detect earthquakes, tornadoes, and car crashes.

The company studied accelerometer readings during the disasters and learned that they could give a minute’s notice to the users.

Stogaitis further added that if an earthquake is detected by phones, their city-level location is shared with Google, which can further estimate the epicenter and magnitude with a few hundred reports.

Currently, Android phones can differentiate the vibration caused by thunder or device dropping from earthquakes only when the phone is charging, stationary, and has the authorization of the user to share the data.

The first alert based on accelerometer readings is expected to issue next year. No application download will be needed, and the alert will trigger for earthquakes with magnitude 4.5 and more. 

People expected to experience the tremor, will hear a loud ringing on their phones and see a full-screen advertisement about the drop, cover, and hold on. A small notification will be given to people who are far away. Google also plans to give free alerts to businesses that want to shut their elevators and gas lines before the tremor.

Stogaitis stated that Google has not discussed the plans of the earthquake detector with Apple Inc yet. The later was not available for any comment as per the sources.

In 2016, UC Berkeley developed a similar app known as MyShake to warn Californians regarding an  earthquake. The app registered over 1 million downloads.

 

Source : https://in.reuters.com/article/alphabet-google-quake/google-turns-android-phones-into-earthquake-sensors-california-to-get-alerts-idINKCN2571SV



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Pankaj Singh

Pankaj Singh Develops content for Algosonline, Market Size Forecasters, and a couple of other platforms. A Post Graduate in Management by qualification, he worked as an underwriter in the UK insurance domain before deciding to switch his field of profession. With exp...

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