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Thousands of “hackers for good” build applications for humanity

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)

Earlier this month, thousands of “hackers for good” gathered in more than 19 different global locations—from Berlin to Nairobi, and Sydney to Sao Paulo—to participate in Random Hacks of Kindness #3. These teams are now off and running, working with NGO and government advisors to finish their applications for humanity.

In partnership with Microsoft, Yahoo!, NASA and the World Bank, we founded RHoK in 2009 to build and support a community creating open source technology for crisis response. At RHoK #3, we expanded the mandate to include climate change, and we also recently announced that we’re broadening the scope in the future to tackle any development challenges.

Of the more than 75 solutions submitted for judging at this year’s global events, many are already on their way to making a difference around the world. The UN, in partnership with the Colombia government, is considering adopting the shelter management system developed at RHoK Bogota to aid the 3 million victims of winter flooding in South America. Of the nine hacks submitted for judging at RHoK Sao Paulo, two are already in use and two others may be further developed and incorporated into the restructuring of the National Weather Service. The winning application at RHoK Philadelphia, developed in response to a problem proposed by the World Bank Water group, is set for further development at the WaterHackathon, RHoK's first community-sponsored event, later this year.

At the RHoK Silicon Valley event at Google’s Mountain View campus, we selected three winners:

  • SMS Person Finder enables anyone with a phone to interact with Person Finder, a software application that Google built to help people connect with their loved ones following a disaster. The Google Crisis Response team is working with this group to integrate their application into future Google Person Finder deployments
  • Hey Cycle makes it easier for people to reuse and recycle items by setting up email alerts when free items that they’re looking for are entered on
  • FoodMovr connects people with excess food to others who need it through a simple live application
We’re proud to be one of the founding partners and ongoing sponsors of Random Hacks of Kindness and look forward to seeing these application make a difference. Stay tuned for future RHoK events, and follow the progress of the community at

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