Google Lends a Helping Search Feature in Times of Crisis & Uncertainty

May 20, 2013

In the minutes after news broke of the Boston Marathon Bombing, countless people around the world began to worry if their loved ones in Boston were safe and unharmed. Due to the city of Boston cutting cellphone service, it was nearly impossible to get into contact with those in the area of the attack. Google came to the rescue and reminded the public of its Google Person Finder application. This application was created in 2010 through their social impact site after the Haiti earthquake.

Google Person Finder allows people to connect with their loved ones who may be affected by a crisis. People who are looking for loved ones are able to upload their loved one’s information and any individual or organization who has information on said missing person can update the network.  One amazing feature of this application is that you are able to subscribe to a person’s updates like a Google Alert. Instantly you would receive updates via email if the status of the person has changed.  Google stores the information for a certain amount of time depending on each crisis. A few days after the bombing, the information regarding those affected in Boston was taken off the site since traditional forms of communication were restored to normal. In events such as natural disasters, information is stored on the site for longer periods of time.

This tool is an incredible form of communication when crisis strikes and more common forms of communication are shut down. Many people worldwide were able to ease their minds with answers on their loved ones in Boston.  Here’s to Google using their resources and talents for the bettering of our world!


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