Google's new system will turn phones into earthquake detectors
Google announced this Tuesday the launch of an earthquake alert system, which will allow Android phones to act as seismographs.
We saw an opportunity to use Android (the operating system) to provide people with timely and helpful seismic information when conducting a search, as well as a few seconds alert for them and their loved ones to get to safety if it is necessary, said Marc Stogaitis , Android's chief programmer engineer, in an online post from the search giant.
Smartphone users with the Android system anywhere in the world can now allow their devices to form part of an earthquake detection network that is based on the small motion sensors that devices generally have.
Those accelerometers can detect the shaking caused by an earthquake, Stogaitis explained.
This means that your Android phone can be a mini-seismometer, joining millions of other Android phones out there to form the largest earthquake detection network in the world, said the engineer.
According to Google, phones that detect a possible earthquake will be able to automatically send a signal to a data center, where computers interpret that data and where it comes from to determine, if an earthquake is occurring.
Google launched in parallel an earthquake warning system in collaboration with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which will initially be available only in California and is based on data generated by a network of hundreds of seismic sensors installed in that state.