Android Soon be able to detect earthquakes based on crowdsourced data: Google

The key to prevent human life from earth quake is early warnings. Google recognize these aspects and has announced that the company is working on Earthquake alerts which send right to all Android handsets in the affected areas. This feature would firstly to introduce for California while the company is testing and launching a crowdsource based approach, using the accelerometer sensor present in almost all Android phone in the world.


Nature has always been dramatic and never lose a chance to surprise us while nature also brings natural disasters that also includes Earthquake. Earthquake are more common nowadays, while these occurs to release the pressure between/ among tectonic plates and by collision of these plates as these are always in motion. The key to prevent human life from earth quake is early warnings. Google recognize these aspects and has announced that the company is working on Earthquake alerts which send right to all Android handsets in the affected areas. This feature would firstly to introduce for California while the company is testing and launching a crowdsource based approach, using the accelerometer sensor present in almost all Android phone in the world.

The Californian warning system is developed in partnership with United States Geological Survey (USGS) and California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), relying on the 700 seismographs currently present in the state. This technology is based upon the ShakeAlert system which in place as an early warning instrument on the West Coast. Whenever an earthquake is detected, Android smartphones in the affected regions will display a red, flashing earthquake alert and suggest you to drop, cover, and hood in order to protect yourself.

Past earthquake notification
 Full-screen earthquake alert
Incoming earthquake notification




Left: Full-screen earthquake alert. Middle: Incoming earthquake notification. Right: Past earthquake notification.

While the other regions of world which lacks well equipped seismographs so Google is trying to apply another approach. It would use the collective power of idle Android smartphone's accelerometers which can detect the so-called P-wave which precedes the often much more devastating S-wave following afterward. Google has explained, "If the phone detects something that it thinks may be an earthquake, it sends a signal to our earthquake detection server, along with a coarse location of where the shaking occurred. The server then combines information from many phones to figure out if an earthquake is happening."

Android Soon be able to detect earthquakes based on crowdsourced data


Google wants to use this data to send out alerts just like those it will push to Californians. But in the beginning, Google will only use the data to find the epicenter and the affected regions after the facts, and then available via Google Search.

So, Californians will be the first to receive earthquake alerts before the fact while the rest world would have to wait a bit for Google to refine its crowdsourcing approach warnings. While Google has not shared the version of Android required for this feature but it seems that it would be widely available. It can be assumed that the company rely on its Play Services to push this feature. Although the detection feature will automatically go live for everyone but it is not certain if there will be an opt-out option or not.