Google will send air raid alerts to Ukrainian Android users

Google will immediately start rolling out alerts for incoming air raids to Ukrainian Android phone users in an effort to help them get to safety, the company announced.

In a company blog post Thursday, Kent Walker, president of global affairs for Google, said the Air Raid Alert system will work in conjunction with the Ukrainian government.

“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,” Walker wrote. “This work is supplemental to the country’s existing air raid alert systems, and based on alerts already being delivered by the Ukrainian government.”

Dave Burke, vice president of engineering at Google for Android, said the system is based off of the earthquake alerts they send users. He says the new system has started rolling out already and will ramp up to target all Android phones in Ukraine over the next few days.

“The system leverages our low latency alert mechanism we built for earthquake alerts,” Burke tweeted. “The air raid system is supplemental too, and shares the same triggers used for, the country’s existing air raid alert systems.”

On March 4, Google directed Google Play users in Ukraine to the Ukrainian Alarm app. They said the app was created by Ukrainian developers in cooperation with the Ukrainian government to give people better air raid warnings. Now, Ukrainians will be able to receive alerts if their phone location and internet is turned on without the third-party app.

“Air raid alerts and sirens in Ukraine are a tragic daily reality, and we’re doing all we can to help people get these crucial alerts as many ways as possible,” the company stated.

Google has already blocked Russian state media channels from its platforms, including the Google Play store. It has suspended Google Pay for customers of sanctions-hit Russian banksmeaning customers of those banks will not be able to use the mobile payment system.

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