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Google will alert you before an earthquake: Here’s how to turn on the feature


Soon Google will alert Android users about an earthquake before it occurs. The new system announced by Google will use the sensors in the phone like the accelerometer to sense an earthquake and alert the user in advance.

The Android Earthquake Alerts System is already available in many countries across the world. It provides an early warning to users when earthquake tremors begin. Google is bringing the system to India in association with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the National Seismology Center (NSC).

Once activated, the system will turn an Android phone into a mini earthquake detector, using the accelerometer as a seismograph. Any phone that is charging or not moving can sense the first signs of an earthquake. When several such phones in an area start sensing the earthquake-like sensing at the same time, Google can figure out where the earthquake is happening and how strong it is.

Once it has figured out if it’s an earthquake, Google’s server will send out alerts to other phones in the area. The alerts are classified into two types, based on the magnitude of the earthquake.

The first alert is the ‘Be Aware Alert’ that will be sent out to users experiencing light shaking.

The Be Aware alert, Google said, serves as a warning for light shaking and provides more information if you tap on the notification. This alert will continue to follow your volume settings, Do Not Disturb (DND), and notification settings.

The ‘Take Action alert’, on the other hand, is meant to warn users before they experience moderate to the heavy shaking. This alert ignores your DND settings, turns on your screen, and plays a loud noise to catch your attention.

Both alerts are triggered in the case of an earthquake of magnitude 4.5 or greater.

The users will also receive suggestions on the actions that they should take for their safety, such as taking cover under a table.

“Internet signals travel at the speed of light, much faster than the propagation of earthquake shaking through the ground, so the alerts often reach phones several seconds before severe shaking does,” explains Google’s press release.

Google has been working with the NDMA to provide users with information about natural disasters like floods and storms on Google Search and Maps. One can find this information by searching for things like “Earthquake near me” on Google.

The system will soon be made available to users with Android 5 or higher. To get the alerts, the first requirement is having an active internet connection as well as you will have to turn on the location setting.

You can activate the feature by going to ‘Safety and Emergency’ in your phone’s Settings and turning on Earthquake Alerts.