Boston Marathon: How Google can actively help victims and loved ones

After watching endless streams and monitoring countless tweets about the Boston marathon this evening, I placed myself in the midst of the devastation. The immediate thought of "where is my loved ones?" and "is everyone safe?". I was absolutely amazed to see that Google has come up with a solution called the Google Person Finder.

The Google Person Finder merges people on both side of the lost and found spectrum involved within a disaster - those who are looking for someone, and those who have found someone - and brings them back together. The application was built following Haiti in 2010, since then it has been used in the Pakistan floods (2010) and the Christchurch earthquakes (2011) - most importantly, in all of these instances the app has gone live in a matter of hours after the event has occurred. Today the app is live just short of 3hrs after the first bomb went off.

The application is open for developers to use and embed within their site or configure the update feed using the Person Finder API. This is amazing to see that such useful tools can not only be accessible but effectively dispersed through web-land to benefit people in real life. This is a case of a web development that can provide great comfort to people in their time of need.

There will be a further blog post detailing the way in which the Internet is crucial in the time of a disaster.

About the Author

Olivia Jones avatar

Olivia Jones, Producer

Olivia was a Producer at Gibe. She keeps busy with project and account management working side by side with the tech team to ensure the project hits the nail on the head in terms of requirements and expectations. Olivia is a blogger so you'll often find her at meet ups, beer weeks or art festivals armed with an SLR. The maintenance of her own blog has meant she's up to date with the latest blogging trends, ready to advise her clients on the latest must haves!