During natural disasters, the Google makes use of their search technology and popularity to offer people finder services to help people locate missing family and friends.
Most recently Google setup a person finder tool for missing persons in a recent earthquake in Turkey and last spring Google offered a similar online person search service for people who were affected by the tsunami in Japan.
The people finders from Google allow individuals to post information about the people they are trying to find as well as allow people to post information about people who are being looked for.
All personal information posted to the person finder sites is publicly available information that anyone can search and view. Records about missing people are compiled from information that people post to the site as well as other public record and data sources.
Google Person Finder was originally created as a result of the 2010 Haiti earthquake to help people affected by the disaster find their relatives and friends. After Hurricane Katrina, numerous disparate sites compiled missing person information, creating an unorganized network of people locator services. Google’s Person Finder solves this problem by acting as a central clearing house for all of the people records.
Google Person Finder relies on contributing people to keep the records updated. Google does not handle updating the personal information in the locator database.
Very often, a Google People Finder site is launched to find missing persons within only a few hours of a disaster striking. As of 2011 Google’s person finder sites were tracking over 600,000 people from numerous crisis areas around the world.
You can find out more about Google’s people finder services at the sites below: