Google is Rolling Out the ‘Air Raid Alerts’ to Help Ukrainians

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has sent shockwaves around the globe with Ukrainian citizens terrified of the air and ground attacks. Moreover, one of the many dreadful realities of life in Ukraine right now is smartphone-based air raid notifications. While the Ukrainian government presently uses a third-party app to provide air raid warnings, Google has decided to build an “Air Raid Alerts” system directly into Android. On the Google Blog, the company stated,

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 ‘Air Raid Alerts’ to Help Ukrainians

Google is launching this air raid alert system feature via Google Play Services, which implies that it should work for almost all Android phones. While Android OS upgrades are notorious for only reaching a small number of users every year, Google Play Services updates via the Play Store on the other hand means that everyone will get an update as soon as their phone checks for app updates.

On Twitter, Android Vice President of Engineering Dave Burke introduced the new feature, adding that the warnings use the same low-latency alert system that the Android team developed for earthquake detection. While Google’s Earthquake Detection System may generate its own earthquake alarm by crowdsourcing accelerometer data from millions of Android phones, it does not detect air raids.

“The technology will start rolling out today and will build up over the coming few days to target all Android phones in Ukraine,” Burke explains. Thankful to our engineering, product, and user experience teams for working so quickly to find a solution.”

Check out? Russia-Ukraine: Worldwide tech industry hits Russia by halting exports

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