What should have been a picture perfect finish turned grim in the Boston marathon finish line on April 15 when two explosives allegedly went off. The Boston bombing immediately left 3 dead and dozens injured, which we featured in our previous report.
The incident turned all eyes and ears towards Boston as the national and even international media focused on the event. Of course, this raised worries on the part of the families and friends of Boston residents.
As a result, Google launched its Person Finder again to help the people of Boston get in touch with their relatives anywhere in the world. The company launched the service just hours in the aftermath of the horrific Boston bombing to finally put the families of people living in Boston at ease.
According to the website of eWeek, the service contains approximately 5,400 names of people that can be searched easily online. The figures were based on the April 16 statistics of the site.
To use the service, the users can either put their own names there or the name of a person related to them who can attest to their safety. People can also enter other information relevant to them that can help their relatives or friends confirm their well-being after the Boston blasts.
The Google Person Finder is one of Google’s services that aim to promote charitable acts or good cause by extending assistance to people who were victims of a major catastrophe or crime. The service is available at the Google.org website.
Google notably activated the service during the height of the Haiti crisis when the area was devastated by a powerful earthquake in 2010 which left hundreds of thousands dead, plus millions who were either injured or deprived of their property. Aside from providing a reliable database to check the status of the people in the area, the company donated around one million USD to the government of Haiti based on a 2010 report of several news sources including eWeek.
The good thing about the service is that anyone can just use it said the report. This is because the database uses common file formats that can be easily interchanged with other listings so that the data about the victims and survivors can be conveniently entered and accessed by concerned individuals like friends and family members.
Based on the FAQ section of the Person Finder, the service is only activated whenever the conditions that require its use arise. The gravity of the situation is analyzed by the Google Crisis Response Team first. Then, they come with specific tools that could address the problem depending on the needs of the people in the area affected by the disaster or unfortunate incident.
Other useful information like the Boston Mayor’s Office hotline and Boston Police contact numbers have been displayed in the site too in order to address the needs of victims and to aid the police investigations.
Google added that the duration of the service depends on the crisis. After the crisis is over, all the information entered in the Google Person Finder pages will be deleted.