by James A. Martin

Google’s ‘One Today’ Android App Designed to Drum Up Charitable Donations

Aug 09, 20132 mins
AndroidMobile AppsSmartphones

Google's new One Today Android app makes it simple to donate $1 a day to a variety of charities and causes. The app is beautifully designed, according to blogger James A. Martin, and Google should be commended for helping to inspire donations.

Making charitable financial donations can be important. Such donations are a great way to help those in need. They can also make you feel good. But I’m just going to say it: Donating to charities can also get your name added to annoying mailing and/or calling lists.

I installed Google’s brand new charitable-donation app for Android devices, One Today, with great interest. The concept: Open the app, and you’re presented with several projects to which you can donate $1 with one click. It’s that simple. And most people can afford the occasional $1 donation. I presume (and hope) that my donations won’t somehow lead to junk mail or annoying calls. But only time will tell. (Google’s One Today FAQ doesn’t address this concern.)

One Today

One Today came out of beta to U.S. users today, and it is beautifully designed. Large graphics or photos accompany each project that’s spotlighted. You can learn more about the causes (such as child sex trafficking) and how your $1 donation will help, by scrolling down. And you can also see a list of recent donors.

I didn’t find an option to donate anonymously, as you can on some sites, including Kickstarter. That’s probably because One Today’s intention is to help spread the word about the charitable cause, and increase donations to it, through social media. For example, the app lets you match your social media contacts’ donations to a particular cause.

You can’t search for specific causes; you can only choose from causes that are presented to you. Google says the app learns from your donations and serves up other causes that you’re likely to be interested in.

You can’t donate more than $1 per project per day. Also, by default, the app notifies you daily of new donation opportunities with a vibration and a sound. (You can turn notifications off in the app’s settings.) Google has not yet mentioned any iPhone or other smartphone version.

By breaking donations into $1 bits, One Today does a commendable job of turning smartphone owners into potential microphilanthropists and, by extension, perhaps even activists.