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Android phones could track tremors and warn of earthquakes

Android phones could track tremors and warn of earthquakes
Posted at 12:19 PM, Aug 13, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Google says Android phones will be used to sense earthquakes around the world and may one day be able to provide global warnings, with the first mass alert system unveiled Tuesday in California.

The Android operating system maker says it's using California's network of seismometers to trigger phone alerts.

“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.

Android users who have enabled location services and are near a quake of magnitude 4.5 or greater will receive a full-screen earthquake warning, according to ABC News.

Authorities say that could give people nearby precious seconds to seek safety. No app is needed. Google also announced that Android phones around the world will begin acting as mini-seismometers to sense tremors.

Beginning next year, that could lead to early warning alerts for users near quakes around the world.