A devastating Super Typhoon Haiyan tore into Philippines recently, taking a tragic toll of thousands. Viber, the notable instant-messaging VoIP service has now announced that users in Philippines can use a new feature called ‘Viber Out‘ to reach out for relief and help. The feature allows Viber users to dial phone numbers of non-Viber users.
The ‘Viber Out‘ feature has been in development for some time now and Viber intended to launch it in the coming days. Originally, the company planned to unveil it as a premium feature for which Viber users would have to pay.
However, in the wake of the Philippine Typhoon, Viber not only pre-launched the feature in the country but is currently offering it for free. According to the company’s CEO, Talmon Marco, this was done to ensure that typhoon victims stranded in the devastated regions of Philippines can reach out for rescue and relief efforts can be better coordinated without any communication problems.
This is certainly a grand gesture from Viber and sets an example as to how tech companies can help during times of disaster. For now, the new Viber Out feature is available only in Philippines. The company is further working on this feature to somehow enable non-Viber users outside Philippines to contact their Viber-using relatives and friends within Philippines.
It is expected that Viber will roll out the new feature to its users in other parts of the world soon enough. It will be a premium feature in the rest of the world, although we don’t yet know how much Viber aims to charge for it.