The phones will receive notifications from a system to monitor the first indications of earthquakes called “Shake Alert” created by the American Institute of Geological Studies and its partners on the west coast of the United States.
The system uses information from hundreds of seismographs in the state to send notifications to phones that “an earthquake has started and soon there will be vibration,” according to the system’s website.
“We have seen that there is an opportunity to use Android to provide people with accurate and useful information about earthquakes when they are looking for them, and to send alerts to them within seconds so that they can take precautions with their surroundings if necessary,” said Mark Stugaitis, engineer at Google.
He pointed out that Android smartphone users can also participate in a collaborative network to monitor shakes, as phones are often equipped with small acceleration sensors that measure movement, and are thus able to monitor vibrations.
“Your Android phone can be a small seismograph device that connects to millions of other phones to form the largest seismic network in the world,” he added.
Google explained that phones that detect what could be an earthquake can automatically send a signal to a data center, where computers analyze movement and location data in an aggregate way to determine if it is an earthquake.
Fear of the “Great Earthquake” is a sword for Californians who live in obsession, as the state rests on the San Andreas Fault and experiences regular tremors. However, large earthquakes are rare.