Back in April, Google activated the Android Earthquake Alerts System in Greece and New Zealand. This Google Play services-powered mechanism is now live in seven more nations as the global launch gets underway.

The Android Earthquake Alerts System uses your phone’s accelerometer to detect the initial P-wave generated by quakes. Your device sends a city-level location that does not include zip code or street address to Google’s earthquake detection server. The company then verifies before sending a loud notification that includes location and magnitude before the destructive S-wave hits. This alert can take over your screen and provides a drop, cover, and hold reminder.

This system is now available for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, the Philippines, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Looking ahead, Google plans to launch this capability globally over the coming year, starting in countries with higher earthquake risks and working down from there. Wide availability of Android devices with Play services will be required.

The company’s stated goal is to create the “world’s largest earthquake detection network.” It comes as establishing a ground network of seismometers, like USGS ShakeAlert in California and the West Coast, is not always possible.  

Android users can opt out from device Settings > Location > Advanced > Earthquake Alerts. This has been in testing since last year, but Google just started sending notifications in two countries this April. The company previously shared what the Android Earthquake Alerts System captures after a Los Angeles tremor in September of 2020.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: