Hurricane Sandy Disrupts, Prompts Tech Innovations

The Frankenstorm is stifling innovative announcements from Google, but also blowing fresh ideas into the atmosphere.

Hurricane Sandy Disrupts, Prompts Tech Innovations

This morning the East Coast is bracing itself for Frankenstorm. The unwanted offspring of a tropical cyclone and colder winter weather has left many people stranded, with transport to, from, and within New York suspended, stock trading on Wall Street suspended, offices closed–including that of Fast Company–and Kmarts empty of anything remotely useful (this, apparently, does not include Sofia Vergara’s clothing line, says one of our editors) as people batten down the hatches at home. Here are a few ways Sandy has disrupted–or in some cases, prompted-tech disruption so far today.


*Google has set up an interactive crisis map for people to keep an eye on the storm. It’s got weather updates, evacuation routes, and information that Google hopes will help people stuck in the path of the storm as well as those out of danger who are monitoring the situation.

*Meanwhile, the storm has forced Google to cancel its event in New York today. The firm was expected to launch a new 10-inch tablet as well as the Nexus 4 smartphone.

*Facebook is also a loser, with an engineering open day and a Gifts event at FAO Schwartz both falling victim to the storm.

*Both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times have lifted their paywalls for the duration of the storm.

*ABC’s Joanna Stern has compiled a useful list of apps to keep people in the loop during the storm’s duration.

*To see just how the incoming storm has affected East Coast life, check the MTA’s Flickr stream. It is full of amazing photos, with an empty Grand Central Station, and deserted subway platforms. Those of you who like their rain sepia-toned and blurred at the top should head to Instacane.

Here’s hoping that Sandy blows herself out before she does any lasting damage.

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.