Saturday, April 18, 2009

A new search engine that helps to fight hunger

Using a certain search engine can now help provide meals to the hungry. "Hoongle" is similar to, in that each time you use it, a few grains of rice goes to the United Nations Food Programme.

We found out about "Hoongle" though a write up in the New York Times Blogs, writer Jenna Wortham tells us all about the new search engine.

A search engine can pull up results, but can it also dish out three meals a day?

That’s what Vladimir Hruda, David Whitehead and Salmaan Ayaz, undergraduate students at the University of Richmond, are hoping. The trio of students built, a custom Google search engine that promises to donate 20 grains of rice per search to schools in the developing world.

Since the search engine rolled out in September, the site has generated more than 8.5 million grains of rice, or the equivalent of 4,000 meals, Mr. Hruda said. “We’re adding tremendous value to everyday searches,” Mr. Whitehead said.

To finance their food fund, the creators donate the revenue generated by each search, which is enough to pay for the equivalent of 20 grains of rice. A small portion of the proceeds toward server maintenance charges, said Mr. Hruda. The search engine works through Fill the Cup, a campaign of the United National World Food Program that delivers food to schools around the world.

“Typically charity requires donation,” said Mr. Ayaz. “But we’re creating the value that we’re donating. There’s no cost to us, or anyone for doing this.”

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