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Google & Facebook Aiding Nepal Earthquake Relief Efforts by Online Tools

Following the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal this week, Both tech giants, Google and Facebook are aiding Nepal earthquake relief efforts by providing some online tools.

Google has launched “Google People Finder” and Facebook has launched its “Safety Check“. Google’s People Finder does very much what it says. In simple words these two online tools enable people to publish requests for information about loved ones, as well as giving those with information somewhere to share it.

Google People Finder

Google first launched the application in 2010, following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and has since deployed the tool several times after natural disasters. Google Person Finder helps people reconnect with friends and loved ones in the aftermath of natural and humanitarian disasters. Google People Finder gathers information from emergency responders and individual users who can manually enter information for a missing person or someone who has been found. All data is available, viewable and usable by the public or by anyone. Google does not review or verify the accuracy of the data.

Google People Finder Search is also available through SMS.
In Nepal or India: Text “search <name>” to +91-9773300000
International charges may apply from Nepal.
In US: text “search <name>” to +1 650-800-3978

The program also lets press agencies, non-governmental agencies and others contribute to the database and receive updates by using the Person Finder API based on the PFIF open standard. In addition, websites can choose to embed Google Person Finder as a gadget on their own pages.

Facebook Safety Check

Facebook activated a special feature that aims to keep people informed of the security of their friends and family in the affected area. Facebook Safety Check asks users at the site of a natural disaster if they are safe, and then notifies their connections of their status. It also asks other users to indicate when people they know are safe. Facebook launched the tool, which was inspired by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, last October. Facebook is able to determine users’ locations by “looking at the city you have listed in your profile, your last location if you’ve opted in to the Nearby Friends product, and the city where you are using the internet,” according to its 2014 blog post. If a user has a Facebook friend in the disaster area, he or she is notified.