On the morning of March 22, 2016, terrorists struck Brussels, Belgium. Bombs were exploded in Brussels’ Zaventem Airport, the region’s main international airport and Maalbeck Metro Station, the city’s downtown rail hub. As of this writing, 34 people are confirmed dead and over 250 are injured. Terror group ISIS claimed responsibility.
In the wake of this tragedy, Google announced it will offer free calls made to Belgium and Turkey through programs Hangouts, Hangouts Dialer and Google Voice. Landline calls to Belgium and Turkey will be free through Hangouts via desktop or smartphone app. ?Google is updating Google Now cards to provide information about transportation. When the attack happened, all Brussels based flights and rail operations shut down. It could be days, if not weeks, before airports and train stations get back to normal. If necessary, Google’s Now cards will include direct link with Belgium’s Government Crisis Centre. Communication in Brussels is still very crippled, but Google and other social media sites vowed to keep their lines of communication open. Brussels officials and political leaders are asking citizens to limit smartphone use to a minimum, just enough to let next of kin know they’re okay. For example, Facebook, activated it’s safety check app. This app allows you to connect with loved ones through Facebook if disaster strikes near you. It played a critical role during the attacks in Paris back in November 2015. This was especially true in those first chaotic hours, when many didn’t know if their loved ones were even dead or alive.
I give props to Google and Facebook for stepping up to the plate following this horrific attack. Obviously, our world is more connected than ever before. For some, Google and Facebook may be the only way to contact loved ones, especially in a city of crippled communication. We here at Computer Geeks send our thoughts, prayers and condolences to victims and their loved ones during this trying time. When will the madness and the meanness and monstrosities ever end?