Google turns Android phones into earthquake sensors

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Google’s Android phones on Tuesday started detecting earthquakes around the world to provide data that could eventually give billions of users precious seconds of warning of a tremor nearby, with an alerting feature first rolling out in California.

Japan, Mexico and California already use land-based sensors to generate warnings, aiming to cut injuries and property damage by giving people further away from the epicentre of an earthquake second to protect themselves before the shaking starts.

If Google’s approaches for detecting and alerting prove effective, warnings would reach more people, including for the first time Indonesia and other developing countries with few traditional sensors.

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Seismology experts consulted by Google said turning smartphones into mini-seismographs marked a major advancement, despite the inevitably of erroneous alerts from a work in progress, and the reliance on a private company’s algorithms for public safety. More than 2.5 billion devices, including some tablets, run Google’s Android operating system.

“We are on a path to delivering earthquake alerts wherever there are smartphones,” said Richard Allen, director of University of California Berkeley’s seismological lab and visiting faculty at Google over the last year.

Google’s program emerged from a week-long session 4-1/2 years ago to test whether the accelerometers in phones could detect car crashes, earthquakes and tornadoes, said principal software engineer Marc Stogaitis.

Accelerometers – sensors that measure direction and force of motion – are mainly used to determine whether a user is holding a phone in landscape or portrait mode.

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

Source  Reuters

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Ellis Ferdinand

Ellis Ferdinand is the Founder of Education Ghana Media Network ,a parent Company of EducationGhana.net ,an Online Education News Blog and Education Television, an Online Digital Television Channel. Ellis Ferdinand is a Graduate of Accra College of Education and the University of Cape Coast respectively, where he obtained a Diploma In Basic Education and a Bachelor of Education in Accounting. Awards Ellis Ferdinand won Blogger of the Year at the 2018 National Students’ Awards and was also adjudged 14th Best Ghanain Blogger in 2018 among Top 50 Ghanaian Bloggers of 2018. He introduced the Concept of Education Blogging in Ghana in 2014 with his famous blog EducationGhana.net. His Blog won Best Media Promoting Education in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively, an Award organized by Neogenics Education Consult. In 2019, He was adjudged the Most Promising West African Blogger of the Year in Nigeria.
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Ellis Ferdinand is the Founder of Education Ghana Media Network ,a parent Company of EducationGhana.net ,an Online Education News Blog and Education Television, an Online Digital Television Channel. Ellis Ferdinand is a Graduate of Accra College of Education and the University of Cape Coast respectively, where he obtained a Diploma In Basic Education and a Bachelor of Education in Accounting. Awards Ellis Ferdinand won Blogger of the Year at the 2018 National Students’ Awards and was also adjudged 14th Best Ghanain Blogger in 2018 among Top 50 Ghanaian Bloggers of 2018. He introduced the Concept of Education Blogging in Ghana in 2014 with his famous blog EducationGhana.net. His Blog won Best Media Promoting Education in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively, an Award organized by Neogenics Education Consult. In 2019, He was adjudged the Most Promising West African Blogger of the Year in Nigeria.

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