Google launched its Google Person Finder website in Boston shortly after the bombings at the Boston Marathon to help survivors at the scene communicate with friends and family.
Within 24 hours, information about more than 5,000 people had been entered into the database so that others could search for people they know to make sure they were safe. Users can enter their own names or the names of someone else, along with other pertinent information, so that others can learn of their status, according to Google.
The Person Finder database uses common file formats that are interchangeable with other registries so that information on survivors and victims can be accessed and transferred.
"The Google Crisis Response team analyzes the scale of impact of the disaster and then determines which of its tools would be most useful for responding to the given situation," Google says.
The American Red Cross offers a similar tool, called Safe and Well, to help people reconnect during a disaster. The Red Cross also offers a series of free mobile applications that help users by linking various social media networks and automatically giving their status messages.
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