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Friday March 11, 2011 11:26 am

Google launches Person Finder Japan due to earthquakes and tsunamis

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Google, Internet

person finder 2011

In the wake of the devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Japan, Google has launched a version of its Person Finder tool for Web users looking friends and loved ones in the affected region.

The tool is available in English and Japanese. Users can click on the "I'm looking for someone" link or the "I have information about someone" link and enter what they know. Search by name or parts of a name, or - if you have information - enter the family or given name to create an entry.

Google stressed that all data entered is available to the public and viewable and usable by anyone. The search giant also does not review or verify the data entered into the system; after the immediate crisis has passed, Google archives the data. At this point, the system is currently tracking about 7,200 records.

After 2005's Hurricane Katrina in the U.S., a variety of organizations created missing person registries, making it difficult to keep track. As a result, Google Person Finder accepts data from other registries using a common format known as PFIF, which was established by volunteers of the Katrina People Finder Project. Google engineers built the first Google Person Finder after the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

The program has an API, which lets press agencies, non-governmental agencies and others contribute to the database and receive updates. Web sites can also embed Google Person Finder as a gadget on their own pages.

Google recently launched Person Finder after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand on February 22.

This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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