Microsoft Throws a Vine to Disaster Victims

Microsoft (MSFT) just started testing a new service, Vine, which is something like a Twitter for emergencies. It allows users to quickly notify neighbors when, say, a local river is about to flood or a rash of burglaries have occurred on the block. In fact, the inspiration for the service came nearly four years ago during Hurricane Katrina, when a Microsoft general manager named Tammy Savage began examining ways to help communities ready themselves for disasters.

But will Vine actually work in the most severe catastrophes, when there’s no power to run PCs and recharge cellphones?

Vine currently operates through three forms of communications: emails, cellphone text messages and alerts that are sent and received through Vine’s client software. Eventually, Microsoft plans to add the ability to receive alerts through landline telephones.

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