Google begins in Ukraine with the introduction of a fast Air Raid Alert system for Android phones, the company announced Thursday. The new feature is the tech giant’s latest update on its response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

“Tragically, millions of people in Ukraine now rely on air strikes to get to safety. At the request and with the assistance of the government of Ukraine, we have begun the rollout of a rapid Air Raid Alert system for Android phones in Ukraine,” said Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs, in a blog post. about the announcement.

Walker said the rollout complements existing air strike warning systems in Ukraine and is based on warnings already issued by the Ukrainian government.

In a series of tweetsGoogle’s vice president of engineering, Dave Burke, said the system uses the company’s low-latency alert mechanism that it developed for earthquake alerts. Burke also noted that the system will begin rolling out from today and will target all Android phones in Ukraine in the coming days.

The system uses our low-latency alert mechanism that we built for earthquake alerts. The air strike system complements and shares the same triggers used for the country’s existing air raid sirens. 2/3

— Dave Burke (@davey_burke) March 10, 2022

Google says the feature works on Google Play Services phones running Android 5 or later, and most users don’t need to take any action to receive the feature. It will be rolled out in the coming days and should reach most devices in the country in the coming days.

For the feature to work, the device’s location setting must be “on” and the phone needs an internet connection to update.

Users can enable or disable the feature in the Safety & Emergency or Location Services settings on Android 12 devices and in the Location Services setting on older Android versions as follows:

Android 12: Settings > Security & Emergency > Ukraine Air Raid Alerts Android 5-12: Location > Location Services > Ukraine Air Raid Alert

In the same blog post, Google also announced that it will continue its work to limit recommendations for some Russian state-funded media on its platforms. The company is also shutting down most of its commercial activities in Russia.

“Following our announcement last week that we have paused Google Ads in Russia, we have now paused the vast majority of our commercial activity in Russia, including advertising on our properties and networks worldwide for all Russia-based advertisers, new cloud signups , the payment functionality for most of our services and monetization features for YouTube viewers in Russia.”

Google says its free services, including Search, Gmail and YouTube, are still active in Russia. The company says it will continue to monitor developments.

Additional reporting: Sarah Perez

This post Google adds Air Raid Alerts to Android phones in Ukraine – TechCrunch

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