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Google launches Person Finder for Japanese quake victims

Also posts tsunami warning on main search page after massive earthquake

March 11, 2011 10:57 AM ET

Computerworld - Google was quick to launch a version of its People Finder service to help people find each other in the wake of the devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan Friday.

The service, set up to work in both English and Japanese, is designed to let people inquire about others, as well as post information - where they are, their condition -- about themselves or someone else.

While Google notes on the site that it cannot verify the accuracy of any of the information put into the Person Finder app, all of the data is available to the public.

At 10:30 a.m. ET on Friday, the new app already had 7,200 records available.

Google announced the new version of its People Finder service on Twitter early Friday morning.

Google also posted a tsunami warning on what is its generally sparse search home page. Just below the search bar, Google has written, "Tsunami Alert for New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, and others. Waves expected over the next few hours, caused by 8.9 earthquake in Japan."

As for its Person Finder, this isn't the first time that Google has quickly launched a new version of it in the wake of a tragedy.

In February of last year, Google created a Chili-centric version after a massive earthquake hit that country. And in January of 2010, Google created a Person Finder in the wake of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at Twitter @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed Gaudin RSS. Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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