California’s earthquake early warnings will be a standard feature on all Android phones, bypassing the need for users to download the state’s MyShake app in order to receive alerts, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services said. The state worked with the U.S. Geological Survey and Google, the maker of Android, to build the quake alerts into all phones that run the commonplace operating system. The deal was expected to be announced Tuesday.
"Google is embedding this alert warning tool directly into their operating system," said Brian Ferguson, deputy director for crisis communications for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services ."Android users will no longer need to download an app to receive alerts," he told TechNewsWorld.
Android Principal Software Engineer Marc Stogaitis explained in a company blog that earthquakes happen daily around the world, with hundreds of millions of people living in earthquake regions. The technology does not predict earthquakes. It is designed to quickly take data from seismic sensors and send warnings to potentially affected areas if a quake of magnitude 4.5 or greater occurs and if the projected shaking at a particular location is at a certain level of intensity.
The MyShake technology was developed by the University of California, Berkeley, and released in 2019.
Warnings produced by the ShakeAlert system are also pushed through the wireless notification system that issues Amber Alerts, meaning some people receive both notifications.
The alert is based on the projected shaking at a particular location and a certain level of intensity. Depending on their distance from a quake, people could get several seconds or perhaps a minute of warning. The warnings are powered by California’s ShakeAlert system, which uses signals from more than 700 seismometers installed around the state that can sense seismic waves.
However, users won’t need to download the state’s MyShake app in order to receive the alerts. That application, developed by the University of California, Berkeley, and launched last year, has been downloaded by only about 1 million of California’s 40 million residents. By contrast, many millions of people own Android phones.
“This announcement means that California’s world-class earthquake early warning system will be a standard function on every Android phone. Giving millions precious seconds to drop, cover and hold on when the big one hits,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
iPhone users won’t receive the alerts through Apple’s operating system, but they can download the MyShake app.