Google announced the expansion of the Android Earthquake Alerts System outside the United States, to countries that do not have early warning alert systems.

The first two countries where the System will be introduced are Greece and New Zealand.

Android users will receive automatic early warning alerts when there is an earthquake in their area. Users who do not wish to receive these alerts can turn this off in device settings.

Early warning alerts in Greece and New Zealand work by using the accelerometers built into most Android smartphones to detect seismic waves that indicate an earthquake might be happening. If the phone detects shaking that it thinks may be an earthquake, it sends a signal to our earthquake detection server, along with a coarse location of where the shaking occurred. The server then takes this information from many phones to figure out if an earthquake is happening, where it is and what its magnitude is.

Studies show that in the case of earthquakes more than 50% of injuries can be prevented if users receive an early warning, and have the critical seconds needed to get to safety. Last year, Google launched in California the Android Earthquake Alerts System, which uses sensors in Android smartphones to detect earthquakes around the world. The free system provides near-instant information to Google Search about local seismic events when you search “Earthquake near me.”