On Tuesday, parts of north India, including Delhi-NCR, were hit by strong tremors that originated in Nepal and measured 6.2 on the Richter Scale. Also, the earthquake came just days after Google launched its Android Earthquake Alerts in the country.
The system, however, did not alert Android phone users about the tremors before these struck, ‘failing’ the objective with which it was developed.
Why did the system not work?
In India, Google introduced the service on September 27. In its announcement blog, however, the company, noted that the facility will be rolled out to all Android 5+ users ‘during the coming week,’ indicating a gradual rollout. This, therefore, means it is likely that the ability is yet to be made accessible for majority of Android users in the country.
How does Google’s Android Earthquake Alert work?
As per the tech giant, each Android smartphone comes with tiny accelerometers that can work as mini-seismometers. When it is plugged and being charged, a phone can detect the beginnings of an earthquake; if multiple phones detect an earthquake-like shaking at the same time, the alerts system uses this information to estimate that an earthquake is happening, while also measuring ihe event’s characteristics (epicentre and magnitude).
Accordingly, advance warnings are sent to nearby Android handsets. The India launch means that the notifications are now available in local languages as well, Google says.
According to News18, the feature comes with its own riders, including inability to detect all the earthquakes, and errors in magnitude estimation and shaking intensity.
Regardless, to use this feature, one must have Wi-Fi and/or cellular data connectivity, with both Android Earthquake Alerts and location settings enabled. You can also choose not to receive these alerts.