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You've got to respect the American Red Cross: they're just a bunch of people who love to help people. As a recipient of their assistance through multiple emergencies (hey forest fires, you suck) I've been delighted to see their various disaster apps pop up on the Play Store. But their latest tops them all: Team Read Cross gives you a ton of information on volunteer opportunities in your area, then "gamifies" the act of completing them, sort of like a Foursquare that actually encourages you to do meaningful stuff.

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Sign in to the app with your Facebook account or a separate Red Cross account, and it will let you know about opportunities in your area. (Everyone gets the standard donate blood, donate money, and campaign "missions" - your mileage will vary for other tasks.) Complete them, and you get video game-style achievements. There's a huge social component as well, letting you share your activities on social networks and recruit other "heroes" to your cause. It's a bit cheesy and very self-congratulatory, but hey, it's all for the best.

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One of the really stunning things about the app is how well it conforms to Holo standards. Paginated activities, a full "hamburger" side menu, easy navigation - we'd never have expected this kind of thing based on the previous utilitarian Red Cross apps. There's at least one fly in the ointment at the moment: some early users are reporting frequent crashes, which I haven't experienced so far. Here's hoping this can be fixed soon in this otherwise excellent app.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Matt

    Great, now I can feel even worse about not being able to donate blood. Damn mad cow fears...but seriously, it's nice that the Red Cross is at least proactive with this stuff.

  • Mike Kilar

    Add in some sweet Google sign in and I'll check this out.

  • BMG

    Hey, they are using the fade-in action bar technique from Google Play. Not too shabby since that means they got a dev who knows his stuff since this technique isn't officially open.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      And the Gmail-style pull to refresh, except in white. It's gorg.

  • miri

    Great, I already have the gorgeous One Today app nickel and diming me into bankrupcy. Now I'll be running around town leaking blood like a stuck pig just to use this D: