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Google said it would start sending alerts to Ukrainian Android users about incoming air raids to help them get to safety.
Kent Walker, president of global affairs for Google, said in a blog post-Thursday that the Air Raid Alert system will be coordinated with the Ukrainian government.
Walker wrote, “We have begun rolling out a rapid Air Raid Alerts system for Android phones in Ukraine at the request and with the help of the Ukrainian government.” Our work supplements the country’s existing alert systems, which are already delivered by the Ukrainian government.
Vice president of engineering at Google for Android, Dave Burke, said the system is based on the earthquake alerts they send users. In the coming days, all Android phones in Ukraine will be targeted by the new system, he says.
Burke tweeted that the system uses the low latency alert mechanism he built for earthquake alerts. “The air raid system is a supplementary system that uses the same triggers as the country’s existing air raid alert systems.”
As of March 4, Google Play users in Ukraine were directed to the Ukrainian Alarm app. Ukrainian developers created the app in collaboration with the Ukrainian government to give people better air raid warnings. Ukrainians will now be able to receive alerts if their phone location and internet are active without having to download a third-party app.
“We’re doing everything we can to help people get these vital alerts as many ways as possible,” the company stated.
Google has already blocked Russian state media channels from its platforms, including Google Play. It has suspended Google Pay for customers of sanctions-hit Russian banks, meaning those customers won’t be able to use the mobile payment system.