Updated: Google, Microsoft, Apple and a variety of other tech companies have signaled that they will donate funds and employee skills to help Haiti recover from the massive earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people Jan. 12. Google has been updating satellite imagery available through Google Earth and Google Maps, while Microsoft has activated its Disaster Response Team. Other companies are using their home pages to encourage donations to the Red Cross and other organizations.
Google, Microsoft and a range of other IT companies are donating their money
and skill sets to help Haiti
in the wake of the massive earthquake Jan. 12 that devastated the capitol, Port-au-Prince,
and left as many as 50,000 people dead.
While a number of nations have pledged aid and money, Haiti's
lack of infrastructure may impede the flow of both to the island nation. T-Mobile
USA announced on Jan. 14 that it would waive any charges for international
long-distance calls to Haiti
through Jan. 31 and retroactive to the earthquake on Jan. 12. T-Mobile
customers within Haiti
will be able to roam on T-Mobile's partner networks in the country free of charge
through the end of January.
Throughout Jan. 13, Google worked with GeoEye to make the satellite-imagery
company's latest orbital photos of Port-au-Prince
available to Google Earth. The resulting images, snapped at 10:27 a.m. EST on
Jan. 13, can also be opened in Google
Maps via this link.
Google will update the image layer as the data comes
in, according to a
post on the Google Lat Long Blog.
"In order to help the people of Haiti respond to this catastrophe,
Google is donating $1 million to organizations on the ground that are rescuing
those still trapped and providing clean water, food, medical care, shelter and
support for those affected," Jacquelline Fuller and Prem Ramaswami of the Google
Crisis Response Team posted
on Google's official blog Jan. 14.
"In addition," Fuller and Ramaswami wrote, "Map Maker data
has been made available to U.N. organizations and the team is working with the
Map Your Community to encourage Map Maker users with on-the-ground knowledge to
help update the map of Haiti
with disaster response data."
Google has also inserted a Spotlight on YouTube's homepage and ticker designed
to drive traffic to videos from Oxfam International and the American Red Cross.
Other tech companies have also pledged support for Haiti.
Microsoft made an initial commitment of $1.25 million toward relief efforts,
and asked its employees to support relief organizations working in Haiti.
The Bing homepage
includes a Haiti disaster-relief link.
On top of that Microsoft activated its Disaster Response team, "a
dedicated group that plans how our company, people and partners can be
mobilized during issues such as this," said Akhtar Badshah, senior
director of Microsoft's Global Community Affairs, in a Microsoft
on the Issues blog post Jan. 13 post,
"through outreach to lead
government, intergovernment and nongovernment agencies involved in leading
local and global response efforts."
Salesforce.com has set up a special donation page on its Website, for funneling
Haiti-earmarked funds to the Red Cross and World Vision.
Apple has also
placed a "Haiti Earthquake Relief Donate Here" button on iTunes.
Unfortunately, as with any disaster, a number of online scams have also
erupted. The FBI posted
Jan. 13 reminding potential donators to "apply a critical
eye and do their due diligence" before responding to Web-based requests
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with more
information from T-Mobile.