Google rolls out Air Raid Alerts to Android to help Ukraine

One of the many dreadful realities of life in Ukraine right now is smartphone-based air raid notifications. While the Ukrainian government presently uses a third-party app to provide air raid warnings, Google has decided to build a "Air Raid Alerts" system directly into Android. On the Google Blog, the corporation explained its decision:

Tragically, millions of people in Ukraine now rely on air strike alerts to try to get to safety. 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, and based on alerts already being delivered by the Ukrainian government. 

The feature is being sent out by Google through Google Play Services, so it should work on practically any Android phone. While Android OS updates are notorious for reaching only a small number of users each year, Google Play Services updates are distributed through the Play Store, so everyone will receive an update as soon as their phone checks for app updates.

Burke says, "The system starts rolling out today and will ramp up to target all Android phones in Ukraine over the next few days. Thankful to our eng/product/UX teams for racing to get to a [solution] in short order." 

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