Google has announced a new feature that will alert Android users about the earthquake before it takes place. An earthquake happens almost daily in the prone areas across the globe, where hundreds of millions of people live. According to the Google blog post, an early warning can help people to prepare for natural phenomena. Still, it would be expensive to build and deploy a public infrastructure for every region. The search giant also stated that the new feature is getting rolled out in California.
“First, we collaborated with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to send earthquake alerts, powered by ShakeAlert, directly to Android devices in California.
Developed by the nation’s leading seismologists, the ShakeAlert system uses signals from more than 700 seismometers installed across the state by USGS, Cal OES, University of California Berkeley, and the California Institute of Technology. A few seconds of warning can make a difference in giving you time to drop, cover, and hold on before the shaking arrives,” reads the Google blog post.
According to Google, installing ground seismometers in all areas of the world may not be feasible; that’s why the company is rolling out the new feature for turning Android smartphones into earthquake detectors, or you can say mini seismometers. Google is creating the world’s largest earthquake detection network by joining millions of Android smartphones together.
Google claims that all smartphones arrive with built-in accelerometers capable of sensing signals that indicate an earthquake might be happening. If the smartphone detects something that might be an earthquake, it will send a signal to Google’s earthquake detection server and a rough location of the area where it detected the earthquake. The serve then combines the information received by different phones to double-check whether the natural calamity is happening or not.
“We’re essentially racing the speed of light (which is roughly the speed at which signals from phone travel) against the speed of an earthquake. And lucky for us, the speed of light is much faster!” said Google.
The search giant is also improving the search results for the users if you are searching for words like earthquake or earthquake near me, then Google will start showing relevant results for your area along with helpful resources. It will also educate people on what to do after an earthquake and how to be safe during the calamity.
“We’ve worked with globally-renowned seismology and disaster experts Dr. Richard Allen, Dr. Qingkai Kong, and Dr. Lucy Jones to develop this crowdsourced approach for detecting earthquakes all around the world,” the Google blog read.
As mentioned above, Google has started rolling out the earthquake alert feature in California because of the great seismometer-based system is installed there. The search giant also stated that “you can expect to see the earthquake alerts coming to more states and countries using Android’s phone-based earthquake detection in the upcoming year.”
Meanwhile, Google also launched “The Anywhere School.” With this, the tech giant is bringing Google for Education announcements to hundreds of thousands of viewers in more than 250 countries worldwide.
It seems Google has considered all the feedback and came up with 50 new features across Meet, G Suite, Classroom, and other applications.
Over the next few months, Google is giving moderators of Education meetings more controls for managing their virtual classes. Here are new capabilities, arriving in September:
- Prohibit participants from joining meetings after they’ve been ejected or after they’ve been denied entry twice (launching later this month)
- End meetings for all participants when class is finished
- Manage join requests with ease by accepting or rejecting them in bulk
- Disable in-meeting chat and set restrictions on who can present during a meeting
- A setting that requires the teacher to join first
Launching in September
- Larger tiled views with a 7×7 grid so that educator can see up to 49 students at once
- A collaborative whiteboard with Jamboard in Meet so you can encourage students to share ideas and try creative approaches to lessons
Launching in October
- Blur or replace backgrounds, so everyone feels more comfortable during distance-learning classes. (Admins can disable custom backgrounds as needed.)
- Attendance tracking to see and track which students attended virtual class (G Suite Enterprise for Education)
- Breakout rooms so educators can split classes into simultaneous small group discussions.
These are the new features that Google is planning to bring soon to help people adapt to the new normal and get adjusted with the situation.