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Google launches Crisis Response page for Japan

Company creates person finder so people can find information on friends, family

Google Maps shows just how bad the devastation is in Tokyo after the earthquake and tsunami hit.
Google Maps shows just how bad the devastation is in Tokyo after the earthquake and tsunami hit.

Google has launched a Crisis Response information page following the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that rocked Tokyo and devastated much of the area on March 11th.

"I was in the middle of writing code when the Google Japan office, on the 26th floor of Roppongi Hills in Tokyo, started shaking slowly...  Although alerts from the building urged us to evacuate via the emergency stairs, I couldn't help but stay and search for information about the earthquake's epicenter and scale. Amidst a series of aftershocks rocking our office, a small group of us in Tokyo and several other Google offices started gathering information about the earthquake to create the Crisis Response information page," wrote Ken Miura on behalf of Google Japan and international Crisis Response teams, on the official Google blog.

Google then began collaborating with local governments to try and get information about what was happening in the affected areas and where people could go for shelter. The Google Crisis Response Team also used Google Maps to put up pictures of the area affected and provide more information to the Crisis Response information page.

Google has now launched a tool called People Finder to assist families to look for their loved ones who are missing or unreachable after the earthquake and tsunami struck.

"And thanks to our colleagues in California and around the globe, within one hour of the earthquake we launched Google Person Finder, a tool to help locate missing people, in Japanese, Chinese and English. We published sites in Japanese and English with maps, news updates, videos and resources. We also posted tsunami alerts on the Google homepage for appropriate domains to make sure as many people as possible saw the warning," said Miura.

Google will be donating $250,000 to the relief and recovery efforts currently taking place in the affected areas of Japan.
"Our hearts go out to those who have been affected by the tragedy, and we thank the citizens, first responders and organizations working hard to keep everyone safe," said Miura.