Android users in Ukraine get a feature no one but Putin wants needed

Android users in Ukraine get a feature no one but Putin wants needed

Google reacted very quickly to events in Ukraine in an effort to save as many lives as possible. As Google Maps traffic has skyrocketed in Ukraine with citizens driving (and even walking) across the border into Poland, Google has decided to disable some of its features to prevent Maps from being used to track people’s movements inside Ukraine.

Android users in Ukraine receive air raid alerts on their phones

Google rightly believes that crowdsourced traffic data and information could be used by the Russians as intelligence. Even if disabling these features on Google Maps was the right thing to do, Google has added an important feature for Android users in the war-torn country. The company recently updated a blog he posted earlier this month that revealed the steps he was taking to help Ukraine and mentioned that he had started rolling out a rapid air raid alert system to Android.

The Ukrainian government asked Google to develop this feature to complement the country’s system. The data used by Google to warn Ukrainians to find a safe place quickly comes from alerts that Ukraine sends itself.

Google also announced earlier last week that it had halted “the vast majority of our business activities in Russia – including advertising across our properties and networks globally for all Russia-based advertisers, new listings to the Cloud, payment functionality for most of our services, and monetization features for YouTube users in Russia.” Still, the company acknowledges that its free services, including Search, Gmail and YouTube, are still operational in Russia. Google says it will continue to monitor developments closely.

We imagine that Google also sees the Russian people as a victim (although obviously not to the same extreme as the Ukrainians), and as long as it doesn’t accept payments for search, Gmail and YouTube, it feels that it should not deprive the Russians use these applications.

Google also offers businesses in countries bordering Ukraine the option to include information in their business profile in Google Maps and Google Search about whether they offer services to Ukrainian refugees. Hotel companies display on their company profiles whether they offer Ukrainian refugees free or discounted accommodation.

Other tech companies are helping with some major US carriers offering free calls and texts to and from Ukraine. Some of these offers have recently expired, but Verizon announced it will continue waiving charges until March 17 for international calls, text messages and in-country data charges for consumers and business customers to and from Hungary, Moldova, Poland , Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine.

UScellular is allowing its subscribers to make free calls to and from Ukraine until March 31.

Apple announced in early March that it was halting sales of its popular products in Russia, including the iPhone, iPad and Mac, although this may have more to do with the ruble’s rapid depreciation and imposed sanctions. to the Russian financial system. It also left the App Store open, but that could be for the same reasons Google didn’t disable YouTube, Search, and Gmail in Russia.

Apple also followed Google in shutting down some Apple Maps features in Ukraine, including Live Traffic. This prevents Ukrainian citizens from being tracked by Russian forces.