Weekly Digital News Roundup: April 23 – April 27
Nepal Earthquake Spurs Tech Companies to Action
- According to NBC News,after a devastating earthquake hit Nepal on Saturday, tech companies are hoping their products can help locate loved ones and provide much-needed relief services.
- Viber: The communication app is now providing free calls to any phone number within Nepal through its Viber Out service, which normally provides international calls at discounted rates.
- Google: The company lost one of its own executives, Dan Fredinburg, when the earthquake caused an avalanche on Mount Everest. Google launchedPerson Finder in English, Nepali, Hindi and other languages after the earthquake hit. Click “I’m looking for someone” to search for a loved one’s name or “I have information about someone” to provide it. For those without access to a computer, the service can also be reached by typing “search <name>” to 6040 in Nepal, 91-9773300000 in India and 650-800-3978 in the United States.
- Twitter: On the officialTwitter India account, the company is posting emergency information, maps and more to help people connect people with emergency workers and aid groups.
- T-Mobile & Sprint: Both companies have waived all fees for calls and texts coming in and out of Nepal until May 16.T-Mobile and Sprint are also letting people text donations to aid organizations.
Chipotle says ‘no’ to GMOs
- According to Mashable, Chipotle on Monday moved to eliminate its last remaining genetically altered ingredients, positioning itself as the first national restaurant chain in the U.S. to achieve that milestone. The fast-casual Mexican chain had previously begun identifying genetically modified organisms (GMOs) — including tortilla chips and chicken — on its website in 2013 to raise awareness for the issue, though it declined to provide a timeline then for when it might eliminate those ingredients entirely.
- Food sourcing has been almost as central to Chipotle’s brand as the burritos themselves. The company has stressed sustainable foods throughout its 22-year history and made waves in 2013 with its viral, animated video against the practice of factory farming.
- Other U.S. food brands have been eager to ditch GMOs to win favor with consumers. Last year, Cheerios said its cereal —which is made from oats — would be made without genetically modified ingredients,including beet sugar. Hippie ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s started a “Food Fight” campaign to support labeling of GMO foods, even supporting an Oregon ballot measure that would force the issue.
Airbnb Finally Releases An App For Browsing Its Listings On Tablets
- According to TechCrunch, Airbnb is finally rolling out an app that will enable users to browse and search its listings on a tablet. But more than that, the new app for iPad and Android tablets is designed to provide users with some inspiration for where they might want to take their next trip.
- Like everything Airbnb does, the tablet app just oozes design. While it’s built for utility the company also wanted to show off all the wonderful places you could be staying, even if you don’t have anywhere you plan to go. Beyond that, the app welcomes you with beautiful images of all the various locations you can browse through, letting you swipe right and left between them. It’s meant to feel like you’re thumbing through a travel magazine, which, in a way, you kind of are.
- The app also has all the tools hosts have come to expect, including the ability to edit listings, manage their calendars, and also quickly reply to messages from guests. Click through to any listing and you’re engulfed in full-bleed images. Airbnb likes to say it has the largest collection of professional home photography in the world, and the company loves to show that off in the app. Property information is a flick of the wrist away, slightly hidden in the bottom pane of the screen.