If you have been close to any news feeds today, then you will have likely heard about the attacks that have taken place in Brussels today. Both the International Airport and part of the city’s subway system was hit in attacks which seem to be the result of a combined terrorist attack on the city. With any attack like this, staying in touch with friends, family or loved ones who maybe in the city will be of the utmost importance and as a result, a number of the carriers and social media companies have been looking to keep communications open between Brussels and the rest of the world.
Early today, Facebook announced that they were reactivating their Safety Check feature which can help those in Brussels get the word out to friends and family outside of the country that they are safe and fine. This was then followed by all of the major U.S. carriers and some Canadian carriers announcing that they were zeroing out charges for calls and texts to Brussels over the coming days and weeks. Following which, Google has now confirmed they are also zeroing out charges for any calls made through Hangouts.
The announcement came through the company’s social media channels and advises that any calls made to Belgium through Hangouts, Hangouts Dialer or Google Voice will be free. In light of the similar recent attacks in Turkey, Google has also announced that the same free calls will be on offer to those who wish to call Turkey to check in with family and friends. For those who are in Brussels, Google also announced that they are regularly publishing Google Now cards that offer up to date information on the current transport options within the city. This will be of use to those in Brussels as the attacks were attacks on the transport network and have resulted in a number of transport closures throughout the city. Google has also confirmed that their Now cards also come with a direct link for the Government Crisis center if needed. Google did not provide details on how long the availability of free calls to Belgium and Turkey will remain active for, although it is presumed they will remain free over the coming days, if not weeks.