Sunday, May 2, 2021 08:00 (GMT + 7)
Google has built an earthquake detection system on Android that can provide early warning of local seismic activity and save lives.
The service launched last year in California and is currently expanding to Greece and New Zealand. To do this, smartphones rely on an internal component found in all of these devices, regardless of the operating system. It’s called an accelerometer and can sense motion, including seismic waves that occur during earthquakes. Google’s Android-based earthquake detection system could complement existing seismic networks or replace them in areas where they are not widely deployed.
Google’s earthquake detection system makes Android stand out in part from the iPhone.
Expansion to Greece and New Zealand also comes with a brand new upgrade to Google’s earthquake detection system. Google takes care of everything related to this process, from detecting nearby earthquakes to notifying users. The Android devices will detect the seismic wave. Google will analyze the data and then send an early warning to users in the affected area. People are automatically alerted, but they can opt out of the service from within their phone’s Settings.
Google’s early earthquake detection efforts included partnerships with the US Geological Survey and the Governor’s California Office of Emergency Services to send alerts to Android users in California. Google collects earthquake data and then uses that data to provide information to users searching for “earthquake” or “earthquake near me” on their phones.
Google ensures user privacy.
To function, the system must have a large enough number of users willing to allow Google to use accelerometer data. Not sure how privacy matters. Using connected devices to detect earthquakes is a smartphone feature that can save lives, but in the past, Google has had a lot of risks with location data and user privacy. Google told The Verge last year that the information it collects is “anonymous” from users.
It’s arguably a big difference between iOS and Android in the early days when Motorola Droid became a threat …