Store Finder PH innovates amid COVID-19 pandemic


Have you tried Store Finder PH? This is a website that helps locate nearby establishments that are still open and operating at the time of COVID-19 community quarantine. But when it went live on March 19, those without internet connection seem left behind. 

With the Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, though, the volunteer-initiated website is able to make its key content available on Facebook Messenger through a chatbot. A chatbot is a computer robot that replies to messages like a human being.



To date, Facebook Messenger can be used even without a mobile data plan as part of the basic service of some network providers such as Smart, Globe, and affiliate providers. This free Facebook Messenger service makes the store finding-chatbot accessible to more than 44 million phone internet users in the Philippines at no extra cost. 

Store Finder PH named its chatbot “Crowdy.” The name signifies the project’s crowd-sourcing nature of collecting information. To use the chatbot, the user should open the project’s Facebook messenger.

After tapping “Get Started”, the user may pick the establishment category and type a location that the chatbot will scan through. A list of search results including grocery shops, restaurants, pharmacies, banks, ATM centers, remittance centers, logistic hubs, and other essential stores is then displayed within seconds.

Although the map feature is disabled when on free mobile data, crucial information including business hours are still delivered in text format.

In a statement, Trinmar Boado, leader of the volunteer project, said that their main contribution as millennial to the Enhanced Community Quarantine is to make tech solutions and life-saving information reach the doorsteps of every Filipino. Boado is also an award-winning Information and Communication Technology (ICT) advocate. 

Boado disclosed that the chatbox is getting a high volume of query for remittance centers. This signifies the concern of parents with stranded students from places away from them sending out financial help. 

On Store Finder PH’s website version at www.storefinder.ph, users can see the map of their neighborhood and the exact location of open establishments. They can also chat with other active users within the vicinity to seek any assistance during emergencies.

To start using the Store Finder PH chatbot, open m.me/StoreFinder.PH or fb.com/StoreFinder.PH now. 




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