Following the terrorist attacks that killed 34 people and injured over 250 in Brussels , Google has offered free calls to Belgium via Hangouts and two other channels. The free calls are also available to call Turkey, which has suffered similar attacks in recent weeks.
Google announced the free calls through its social media channels and said any calls made to these two countries through Hangouts, Hangouts Dialer or Google Voice will be free.
While Hangouts calls made through the internet are mostly free they require robust internet connection at both ends, a problem for people in Belgium given the current situation. Hangouts dialer, on the other hand, works like Skype. It requires Google credits and the receptor just needs a working phone connection.
Calls to landlines in Turkey and Belgium, and calls to Belgium's major wireless carrier subscribers like Lycamobile, Mobistar, Proximus and Telenet are free. The calls will be free for calls through Hangouts via the desktop or via iOS and Android apps.
Google also said it is updating the Google Now cards to provide information on the current transport options within Brussels. This will be useful to those in Brussels as the attacks have crippled the transport network, resulting in a number of transport closures throughout the city. Google's Now cards will also come with a direct link to the Government Crisis Centre, if needed.
A number of the carriers and social media companies have come forward to keep communications open between Brussels and the rest of the world. Facebook activated its safety check app for Brussels hours after the attack.
Early on 22 March, three coordinated bombings occurred at Zaventem airport and Maalbeek metro station in Brussels, killed 34 people and injuring over 250. Islamic State (Isis) has claimed responsibility for the attacks.