Google is using its newly launched Person Finder to help victims of Chile’s 8.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred on February 27th. The tool allows people to both search for loved ones, or input information about someone who others might be looking for.
The page had 55,000 records as of Tuesday, and increasing by the minute. The service is available in both English and Spanish. The company had also set up a similar Person Finder after Haiti’s earthquake.
Google has made it clear that it will not be verifying or reviewing the inputted data.
Google has also put up a page in its Relief section for Chile, Support Disaster Relief in Chile. It features a news and updates section, with links to Google News, real-time updates, the Chile Ministry of Health and the US State Department, and a link to improve Chile maps through Google Map Maker. Towards the end of the page, there is information on how people can help the Chileans in their hour of need, with links to organizations like Unicef and other relief charities. There is also a Youtube section where users can upload their videos of the Chilean earthquake.
And Google wasn’t the only major online force to launch a page to help the Chileans. CBS has put together a Twitter page dedicated to breaking news about Chile. The New York Times has created a similar Twitter page, along with a Facebook Chile Earthquake Recovery fan page, with resources and updates from its journalists in South America.
Indeed, social networking showed how useful it can be in disaster news coverage. France 24 international news site reported that over 2,000 Tweets per minute were coming in on Saturday morning, the day of the quake. One Tweet said that Twitter was the only source that was providing him with accurate information.
Kaila Krayewski is a freelance journalist with a passion for all things internet. Having worked for nearly two years as the public relations manager for an internation search engine optimization company, and publishing hundreds of articles (how-to, informational, and otherwise) on SEO, she knows a thing or two about the field. Furthermore, having just started up her own website blondetraveler.com, she is doing her best to keep one step ahead of the search engines in order to keep the traffic flowing.
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