Microsoft has a new software product called Vine that it’s beta testing with a small group of users in Seattle. It’s a location-aware social networking app that lets people share information in emergencies. As a result, the focus is on ease-of-use and robustness of the network in tough conditions.
The Windows-only program sits on your desktop and gathers data from local news sources and other users. You can post short ‘alerts’ or longer ‘reports’ to it via SMS and email, and it integrates with Facebook. Soon it’ll integrate with Twitter, too.
Emergency management officials are reportedly very excited about having a new tool to inform people in disaster situations, but Microsoft also says it could be used by football teams or schools to notify of closures or schedule changes.
If you live in Seattle and want to help Microsoft beta test it, then you can sign up at http://www.vine.net. If not, sit tight and with any luck it’ll be available in the UK within the next couple of years.