Google will issue air raid alerts to Android users in Ukraine
In a blog post, the company said it’s working with the Ukrainian government on an alert system for Android users in the country.
“Tragically, millions of people in Ukraine now rely on airstrike alerts to try to get to safety”, Google explained in the blog post. “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”.
Google said the alerts are based on existing alerts already being sent by the Ukrainian government. The entire effort is adapted from a system built for issuing warnings about earthquakes, according to Dave Burke, vice president of engineering for Android. The new alerts system began rolling out on 10 March and will extend to all Android phones in Ukraine.
The system leverages our low latency alert mechanism we built for earthquake alerts. The air raid system is supplemental to, and shares the same triggers used for, the country’s existing air raid alert systems. 2/3
— Dave Burke (@davey_burke) March 10, 2022
The company didn’t say users would have to opt-in or enable the airstrike alert feature, so the system appears to be automatic.
In addition to the new alert system, Google reiterated in its blog post its latest moves in Russia, including pausing all ad sales and removing Russian state-funded media apps from Google Play Store in Europe. It also detailed other new measures it’s taken, like waiving international calling fees from Ukraine and from the US to Ukraine on Google Fi.
Writing by Maggie Tillman.