Tech gi­ants help with re­cov­ery ef­forts

The Mercury News - - Business+Technology - By Levi Su­ma­gaysay lsuma­gaysay@ ba­yare­anews­group.com

North­ern Cal­i­for­ni­ans af­fected by wild­fires are us­ing Sil­i­con Val­ley tools such as Face­book’s Safety Check, Google search’s SOS Alert and a Google cri­sis map.

But the tech gi­ants also are help­ing by do­nat­ing money to aid re­cov­ery ef­forts for Wine Coun­try and beyond amid dev­as­tat­ing wild­fires that have claimed 21 lives as of Wed­nes­day. Hun­dreds of peo­ple are miss­ing. Tens of thou­sands of acres have burned, and res­i­dents in Napa, Sonoma and Solano coun­ties have been dis­placed, evac­u­ated, or have their bags packed and are ready to leave their homes when the time comes.

Face­book CEO Mark Zucker­berg an­nounced Tues­day that the com­pany is do­nat­ing $1 mil­lion. The money will be di­vided among the Red Cross Cal­i­for­nia Wild­fires Fund, the Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion of Sonoma and the Napa Val­ley Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion, spokes­woman Aften Meltzer said Wed­nes­day.

Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook tweeted Tues­day that the com­pany would help “Bay Area friends and neigh­bors af­fected by wild­fires.” A spokes­woman said Wed­nes­day that the com­pany is giv­ing $1 mil­lion, plus match­ing em­ployee do­na­tions two-for-one.

Google said that Google.org and the com­pany’s em­ploy­ees are do­nat­ing $500,000 to help sup­port those af­fected by wild­fires in North­ern and South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. The money will go to the Amer­i­can Red Cross and to the Napa and Sonoma Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tions, spokes­woman Kather­ine Wil­liams said Wed­nes­day.

In­tel is match­ing its em­ploy­ees’ do­na­tions.

Twit­ter em­ploy­ees have a do­na­tions site they have used for the many nat­u­ral dis­as­ters that have oc­curred this year, a spokes­woman said.

When Zucker­berg an­nounced Face­book’s do­na­tion in a post, some com­menters thanked him not only for that, but for the use­ful­ness of the so­cial net­work dur­ing times of cri­sis.

A Face­book user named Hat­ter T. Habadasher tipped his cap to Face­book’s CEO: “I’ve seen so many peo­ple co­or­di­nat­ing for grass roots re­lief ef­forts through this plat­form in the last 48 hours. It’s pretty awe­some.”

Face­book’s Meltzer said that on Tues­day the com­pany saw Safety Check ac­ti­va­tions for 14 sep­a­rate wild­fires in 24 hours. She also men­tioned that Face­book’s users are us­ing tools such as Com­mu­nity Help to re­quest and of­fer as­sis­tance, and its fundrais­ing tool to raise money for those who have lost their homes in the fires.

As for Google’s tools, its Tubbs Fire cri­sis map in­cludes alerts, in­for­ma­tion about lo­cal shel­ters, air qual­ity and more. A search for “Napa fire” yields an SOS Alert page, which puts in­for­ma­tion about the North­ern Cal­i­for­nia fires in one place, in­clud­ing news sto­ries, of­fi­cial up­dates and more.

NHAT V. MEYER — STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Fire can be seen on a hill­side east of Santa Rosa. Many Bay Area tech gi­ants are do­nat­ing money to help peo­ple af­fected by the wild­fires, in­clud­ing $1mil­lion each from Face­book and Ap­ple.

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