When a disaster happens, chances are you want to get in touch with your loved ones as soon as possible, either to tell them that you’re fine or to make sure they are. To make this easier, Microsoft is launching HelpBridge, a mobile app for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. HelpBridge, which is based on Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform, lets you notify your friends and family by SMS, email or a message to your Facebook wall that you are okay when a disaster happens. Those messages can include your location, too.
For the time being, HelpBridge is only available in the U.S. James Rooney, program manager for Microsoft Citizenship’s Technology for Good program said that when disasters occur, the first thing people who were impacted want to do is to reach friends and family. Rooney also noted that while technology was instrumental in helping people connect with friends, family and relief efforts after the recent disasters in Haiti and Japan, those efforts were very specific to the disaster region and quickly become obsolete in the time after the diaster.