Google launches Android Earthquake Alerts System in Greece and New Zealand

While we would all like to think the ground beneath us is stationary, the truth is, this giant sphere we call Earth is constantly moving. Not only is our planet simultaneously rotating and moving around the sun, but sometimes the ground can shake and rumble more than we'd like too. This can happen when the tectonic plates move about too much. This friction is what we call an earthquake. We call it this because a layer of earth beneath us quite literally quakes.

These earthquakes aren't just scary -- they can be deadly too. Yes, people can be injured during these seismic events, including death. Earthquakes can even cause tsunamis, leading to drownings too. This is why it is so important to alert people when earthquakes happen. Thankfully, if you own an Android phone and live in either Greece or New Zealand, I have some good news -- Google is launching an earthquake alerts system in those two countries.

"Today we're announcing an expansion of the Android Earthquake Alerts System that uses both the detection and alerts capabilities, bringing these alerts to Android users in countries that don't have early warning alert systems. We're introducing the Android Earthquake Alerts System in Greece and New Zealand, where Android users will receive automatic early warning alerts when there is an earthquake in their area. Users who do not wish to receive these alerts can turn this off in device settings," says Boone Spooner, Android Product Manager, Google.

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Spooner further says, "Early warning alerts in New Zealand and Greece work by using the accelerometers built into most Android smartphones to detect seismic waves that indicate an earthquake might be happening. If the phone detects shaking that it thinks may be an earthquake, it sends a signal to our earthquake detection server, along with a coarse location of where the shaking occurred. The server then takes this information from many phones to figure out if an earthquake is happening, where it is and what its magnitude is."

While Google deserves major kudos for launching the Android Earthquake Alerts System in Greece and New Zealand, we must wonder when the search giant will roll it out to all inhabitants of the Earth that use Android. True, some locations are unlikely to be impacted by earthquakes, but still, you never really know when -- or where -- such a disaster can strike. All humans deserve these alerts.

Photo credit: SofiaVShutterstock

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