Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Microsoft beta-testing "Vine" emergency contact service

Microsoft is in the initial beta-testing stages for a new service called "Vine." This software, described as a cross between Facebook and Twitter, allows participants to create groups of people such a family members, neighbors, or coworkers, and to broadcast updates to those people advising of emergency situations or to check in and let specific networks of people know that you are okay. Users also receive updates from others in their networks.

Additionally, the service maps out warning data and news information for the user's chosen geographic areas.

It's a neat idea, but it assumes that users (1) have access to the Internet in an emergency; (2) that the Internet is even functioning, which it won't be in the event of a cyberattack on our infrastructure or an EMP, and (3) that even if the Internet is available, people will have the time and inclination to micro-blog their status and whereabouts to their friends. This last point would be alleviated if you were able to access the service through your Blackberry or iPhone.

You can see more at www.vine.net.

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