Technology to the rescue: Google and Facebook launch tools to locate victims

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When tremors struck the Himalayan Range causing a number of buildings to crumble and an unfathomable number deaths, the world came forward to lend a supportive hand to quake hit Nepal. Politicians donated huge finances, students organized relief camps and social networkers shared related help posts and prayers. The social networking site witnessed a huge inflow of pictures of dead and missing people pictures with some even posting live videos of avalanches and the quakes.

Meanwhile, the techno space too pitched in with multiple apps and tools to catalyze some recovery of the disaster struck nation.

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Google has launched its ‘person finder’ tool while Facebook has come up with a safety check marking feature to help its users locate people in the disaster hit places. The Google homepage provides a link wherein an option ‘Resources related to Nepal Earthquake’ generates reports of missing people in Nepal and so far the website is believed to be locating nearly 5,300 records. The website also offers an option of creating a new “Missing person” record as well as uploading information and pictures in case it is unavailable in the records given by the website. It further allows subscription to updates on a particular individual. Google Finder is a project of Google Crisis Response and uses a common format for sharing disaster information. Involved in an open-source effort during the unfortunate Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005, this programme was first launched in 2010 after the earthquake in Haiti (which recorded a death toll of more than 100,000 people) but was under development for a long time. Since its launch, Google Finder has been involved in tracking and reporting in everything including the 2011 Japan earthquake, the Uttarakhand flood, the 2013 Boston bombing and many more.

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Facebook too has come up with a Safety Check feature developed after the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. This feature allows users keep their family and friends updated about their safety in case they are in disaster struck areas

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