To help keep the people of Ukraine safe as war with Russia rages on, Google has announced that it is launching an “Air Raid Alerts” system directly into Android.
Google’s effort is to complement the already existing air raid warning system put in place by the Ukrainian government that currently runs through a third-party app.
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The tech company explained its decision on the Google blog: “Tragically, millions of people in Ukraine now rely on air strike alerts to try to get to safety. At the request, and with the help, of the government of Ukraine, we’ve started rolling out a rapid Air Raid Alerts system for Android phones in Ukraine. This work is supplemental to the country’s existing air raid alert systems, and based on alerts already being delivered by the Ukrainian government.”
Google is rolling out the feature via Google Play Services, which basically translates that it should work for nearly every Android phone.
While Android OS updates are infamously rolled out to only a single-digit percentage of users in a year, Google Play Services updates through the Play Store, so an update will happen for everyone as soon as their phone checks for app updates.
Announcing the new feature on Twitter, Android VP of Engineering Dave Burke, said the alerts use the same low-latency alert system the Android team designed for Android’s earthquake detection.
While the Earthquake detection system can spawn an earthquake alert of its own by crowdsourcing the accelerometer data from millions of Android phones, Google isn’t detecting air raids. Instead, the company is just building a client for the government’s alert system.
Burke says, “The system starts rolling out today and will ramp up to target all Android phones in Ukraine over the next few days. Thankful to our eng/product/UX teams for racing to get to a [solution] in short order.”
The system starts rolling out today and will ramp up to target all Android phones in Ukraine over the next few days. Thankful to our eng/product/UX teams for racing to get to a soln in short order. 3/3
— Dave Burke (@davey_burke) March 10, 2022
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