During an earthquake, a delay of a few seconds in providing an alert and taking safety steps can be a matter of life and death for people in the affected area. Google is trying to provide some life-saving support here with the Android Earthquake Alerts System, an earthquake detection system that relies on signals received from a network of Android phones to speed up the process of sending alerts.
Google will rely on readings obtained from a phone’s accelerometer, and if it detects any abnormal seismic activity, a signal is sent to the earthquake detection server alongside rough location information. Then, readings from other phones in the same area are instantly assessed to detect if an earthquake is happening, and as soon as it is verified, an earthquake alert is sent to Android smartphone users in that region.
Google says that it is “starting with earthquake alerts in California since there’s already a great seismometer-based system in place.” But the company adds that soon, the Android Earthquake Alerts System will be making its way to more regions and countries across the globe. This feature will prove to be extremely helpful, especially in regions where a public earthquake detection and alert infrastructure is absent or is in a decrepit state.
Source: Google Blog