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Google launches earthquake alerts for Android in India

Google has introduced its earthquake alert system for Android devices in India. This innovative system utilizes smartphone sensors like accelerators, effectively functioning as miniature seismometers to detect tremors.

Developed in consultation with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Seismology Center (NSC), the system aims to provide early earthquake alerts to Android users in potentially affected areas. These alerts will be delivered in local Indian languages supported by Android.

Google issues two types of alerts: "Be Aware" and "Take Action." "Be Aware" alerts are dispatched to users experiencing MMI 3 & 4 shaking during an earthquake of magnitude 4.5 or higher. These alerts appear on the screen without any accompanying sound, even if the phone is in Do Not Disturb or silent mode.

For users facing MMI 5+ shaking during a 4.5 magnitude earthquake, Google sends alerts that bypass the device's notification settings, including Do Not Disturb, and emit a loud sound. Additionally, the alert provides guidance on recommended safety measures, such as taking cover under a table.

Google's system identifies potential earthquakes by monitoring seismic activity through numerous Android phones in a given area. The company asserts that its alerts often precede actual shaking by several seconds.

Introduced in 2020, Google initially launched Android Earthquake Alerts for residents of California. To receive earthquake alerts, users must have a phone with Android 5 or later, as well as Wi-Fi or cellular data connectivity. Location settings must also be enabled on their devices.

Users can activate earthquake alerts by navigating to Settings > Safety & emergency and selecting Earthquake alerts. Alternatively, they can enable this feature through Settings > Location > Advanced > Earthquake alerts.

Furthermore, Google already issues AI-powered flood alerts across all regions in India. The company initiated its flood alert pilot in Patna, the capital of Bihar state, in 2018, and subsequently expanded this service to the entire country in 2020.

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