KARACHI: Google is launching the "Android Earthquake Alerts System" in Pakistan, which will send out automatic early warning alerts to help people prepare for a disaster.

It is a "free, useful" feature that detects and alerts people to earthquakes around the world using sensors in Android smartphones.

The system detects seismic activity using accelerometers in active Android smartphones. It notifies users in two ways: through Search and directly on the Android mobile device itself.

Google Search receives near-instant information from the system. People who search for "earthquake" or "earthquake near me" will find relevant results as well as helpful resources on what to do after an earthquake.

Users who do not want to receive these alerts can disable them in their device settings.

It was first made available in New Zealand and Greece, and is now available in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United States of America, and Uzbekistan.

How the Earthquake Warning System Works

The Android Earthquake Alerts System displays two types of alerts on mobile devices, depending on the magnitude and intensity of the earthquake.

Be Aware notifies people when earthquakes of magnitude 4.5 or intensity levels 3 or 4 on the MMI scale occur. The notification includes the location of the earthquake's epicentre.

The notification makes use of the phone's current volume, vibration, and Do Not Disturb settings.

Take Action is a full-screen alert for earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 4.5 or intensity levels of 5 or higher on the MMI scale. Full-screen instructions are displayed, and the phone plays a loud sound, to help people prepare for potential heavy shaking.

How to Enable Android Earthquake Alerts

To see if the alerts are enabled on your Android device, go to Settings > Location > Advanced > Earthquake Alerts.