Aug 29, 2017 - Science

How tech companies are helping the Harvey response

LM Otero / AP

Tech companies are kicking into gear to help residents dealing with Harvey to make communication easier. Here's what they're doing:

  • Comcast opened about 53,000 Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots around Houston to help people keep connected online even if they're not customers.
  • The four national wireless carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile) are offering free calls and sometimes data for those in the path of Harvey.
  • Facebook activated its "Safety Check" feature to allow affected users to check in with their networks.
  • Google has deployed a Google map focused on road closures, traffic incidents, and shelters in the area.
  • Uber is offering free rides to/from shelters in affected areas.
  • Users on Snapchat have been posting and learning from one another about updates on power outages. Snap told Fast Company it saw an uptick in usage over the weekend.

Donation efforts…Amazon and Whole Foods are matching donations made through Amazon to the Red Cross, up to $1 million.Microsoft announced it is giving an "initial" $100,000 grant to the Red Cross.Facebook is now matching every dollar raised on Facebook up to $1 million for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy's Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund, which supports local recovery and rebuilding efforts.Apple has a button on iTunes allowing users to make donations to Red Cross.Red Cross is and short codes to help make donating easier.

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