Hoongle: End World Hunger One Search At A Time


If there’s one thing we all use online, it’s a search engine. But what if we could do more for the world when we next have to search for František Čelakovský? This is what Hoongle.org seeks to do.

Hoongle is a cross between “Hunger” and Google” (but of course) and is a custom Google search engine that will donate 20 grains of rice per search generated to schools in the developing world.

The system works by donating the revenue of a fraction of a penny that is generated by each search. This doesn’t sound like much of an income, but it is enough to pay for 20 grains of rice. A small portion of the proceeds also goes toward server maintenance charges.

But does it really work? Well, the site has been up since September last year, and so far has donated more than 8.5 million grains of rice, which is 4,000 meals.

Hoongle.orgis the concept of three Undergrad Students from Richmond University in the US: Vladimir Hruda, David Whitehead and Salmaan Ayaz. The site has proved to be so popular that the team have considered creating versions in different languages and also producing an app for the iPhone.

The site itself is very user friendly with a familiar sense of uncluttered space that you get from Google. There are similar links at the top of the page, that allow you to easily access GMail, Google Images and other Google services. There are even links to Facebook and MySpace, showing that the developers have really thought about making this site user-friendly as well as beneficial to those more in need.

Hoongle’s strategy is similar to that of FreeRice.com, a nonprofit collaboration between the United Nations World Food Program and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. free_rice

However, the beauty of Hoongle.org is that you don’t need to do anything you wouldn’t already do. Visitors to FreeRice.com have to play a vocabulary game, where for each correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to developing countries via the United Nations’ World Food Program. So far about 63 billion grains of rice have been donated.

Hoongle is obviously much easier to fit into your day to day life and would be easier still if set as your home page. So don’t Google things anymore, Hoongle them.

Source: New York Times

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