Google rolls out Pixel exclusive Bedtime and Sunrise Alarm to all devices

Ruben Fields
August 13, 2020

Google added an natural disaster alert system in California on Tuesday, saying it is working on letting Android-powered smartphones double as tremor detectors. With millions of Android phones out there, Google could potentially form the largest quake detection network on earth.

Detecting earthquakes anywhere across the world requires a network of seismometers feeding data to an early warning system.

Natural disaster warnings will begin in California first, where the system can be tested against the state's existing seismometer network, and will roll out to further states and countries over the coming year. The first stage-which is already happening-is partnering with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to send natural disaster alerts, powered by ShakeAlert, directly to Android devices in California.

People expected to experience strong shaking would hear a loud dinging and see a full-screen advisement to drop, cover and hold on, Stogaitis said.

'All smartphones come with tiny accelerometers that can sense signals that indicate an natural disaster might be happening, ' Google wrote. The server compiles this detection and location details to form a map of the potential natural disaster.

Starting Tuesday, Android phones running operating system 5.0 and above will pick up certain seismic wave activity and report it to Google.

The company studied historical accelerometer readings during earthquakes and found they could give some users up to a minute of notice.

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The municipality said it is important for residents to register "to ensure we can assist you while you are out of the community". OPP on Monday evening announced Highway 618 in Madsen was closed to east- and west-bound traffic as a result of the fire.

The system will not work in regions including China where Google's Play Services software is blocked.

Google has a dedicated natural disaster detection server which receives information from any Android device which believes it has detected an quake using its accelerometers.

Google is creating a global natural disaster early warning system based on Android. The ShakeAlert system uses data generated by traditional seismometers. This means that the system should work on most Android phones in California. "And lucky for us, the speed of light is much faster!"

"We're essentially racing the speed of light (which is roughly the speed at which signals from a phone travel) against the speed of an quake".

Allen and UC Berkeley researcher Qingkai Kong consulted with Google over the past year to help the company develop and implement the Android Earthquake Alerts System. Only a general location pinpoint is required and no personal data of users is collected at any point.

For the later stages, Google's plan will be powered instead by Android phones.

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