Google on Tuesday announced an update to Android phones, including the ability to detect earthquakes.
The Android Earthquake Alerts System works anywhere in the world and turns every Android device into a mini seismometer. Google says that it is the largest earthquake detection network in the world.
“All smartphones come with small accelerometers that can sense signals that indicate an earthquake may occur. If the phone detects something that it thinks may be an earthquake, it signals our earthquake detection server, along with a rough location where the tremors occurred, “Mark Stogitis , Google’s chief software engineer, wrote in a blog post.
This congested earthquake detection system will allow for more accurate Google alerts and resources if you search for “earthquake near me” after a shock.
Tuesday’s update also includes earthquake alerts on Android devices in collaboration with the United States Geological Survey and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. The technology uses signals from more than 700 seismometers across the state to warn you to cover up even before shocks begin.
Google said it is working on bringing earthquake alerts to states other than California during the next year.
The update comes just a day after Southern California experienced a magnitude 4.6 earthquake. According to the National Earthquake Information Center, there are about 20,000 earthquakes per year in the US.
Technology such as Google will help in early detection for these earthquakes, but there is even more advanced machine-learning technology that can predict large shocks by analyzing acoustic signals to find felting lines.