MANILA - Google on Thursday said it has launched a free Android feature that enables mobile devices to detect earthquakes and alerts users of tremors.
The Android Earthquake Alert System uses accelerometers in active Android smartphones to detect seismic activities, the global tech giant said in a statement.
Near real-time alerts are blasted using the Search page or directly through the device, Google Philippines said.
The Philippines, which lies within the Pacific ring of fire, sees numerous quakes and weather disturbances annually.
Users can search for "earthquake" or "earthquake near me" to find relevant information while the Android notifications provide warnings when it detects earthquakes, Google said.
The accelerometer sends a signal to Google's earthquake detection server along with information on where the tremor occurred. The server then sends the data to phones to analyze whether or not it is happening, where it is, and the corresponding magnitude.
To turn on the alert go to- Settings > Location > Advanced > Earthquake Alerts.
Those who do not want to receive the alert are free to turn off the feature on the settings pages, it said.
There are 2 alert level categories - Be Aware and Take Action.
Be Aware means there is an earthquake of 4.5 magnitude or with an intensity level of 3 or 4. This alert uses current phone volume, vibration and Do Not Disturb settings.
The Take Action warning is at full screen for earthquakes with a magnitude higher than 4.5 or an intensity level of 5 and above. This alert uses full-screen instructions while the device plays a loud sound
"Our country, being located in the Pacific ring of fire, is prone to natural calamities and this update will play an important role in disaster preparedness and risk reduction," Google Philippines Country Director Bernadette Nacario said.
“Our smartphones are indispensable in moments of crisis. We believe Android devices can help people be prepared and stay connected in times of need. We will continue to partner with the government, public safety officials, and leading crisis response experts to better surface relevant information in times of adversities,” she added.
The system, which was first introduced in New Zealand and Greece, is also now available in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Philippines, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.