When earthquake rattled Haiti in 2010, it was realized that there was no portal that could consolidate the information on missing persons from multiple databases. There were many databases and it became hard for people to search through all of them. To tackle this problem, Google launched its ‘Person Finder’ service in 2010.
Google Person Finder is not just a database. Rather, it is an excellent tool that can take databases from multiple sources and consolidate them in a definite format at one place. This way, a person can access all information on missing persons at one place.
Now that floods are wracking havoc on Philippine, Google is using Person Finder to help people locate their missing fellows or to report if they come across a misplaced person. To search up someone, a user simply has to go to the Person Finder page and add the missing person’s name. Also, if you have information about someone, you can also enter that on the portal so that someone else looking for that person may discover him.
The Person Finder code can be embedded on different websites and data can then be downloaded so that all databases of Person Finder and their information also become available on third-party websites.
According to Google’s Person Finder software engineer, Ka-Ping Yee, “We’ve deployed Google Person Finder for several different incidents since the project started in 2010, and we’ve found that it’s most useful in instances where a large number of people are displaced, traditional communications have broken down, and there is no immediate possibility to return home.”
Yee further stated, “Although it’s typically more effective when Internet access is available, we’ve also seen that it can help bridge the gap between people working online and offline. After the 2011 earthquake in Japan, photos of handwritten lists of people’s names at the shelters were posted online, and volunteers across the Internet entered those names into Google Person Finder to help people reconnect to their loved ones.”
Source: Google Person Finder