Google Delivers Person Finder Tool in Response to Japan's Earthquake

by Sam Dean - Mar. 14, 2011Comments (2)

Anyone who follows open source knows that Google is one of the most prolific contributors of open source applications and platforms, but the company is also good at stringing together simple web applications that can address needs in emergencies. Google has done exactly that in response to several national emergencies, allowing people to leverage centralized, simple web applications that aid emergency communications. Now, in response to the devastating earthquake in Japan, Google has delivered Person Finder, which works in both English and Japanese.

Person Finder is a simple site that opens with the question, "What is Your Situation?" From there, users can select a link for "I'm Looking for Someone," or "I Have Information About Someone." The application already has thousands of records about people stored, and will remain in place as people in Japan struggle to reconnect with friends, relatives, colleagues and others. It's also a useful resource for those outside Japan who may be looking for information about people who are there.

This isn't the first time Google has created a Person Finder application in response to a national emergency. It also did so in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti, and has also delivered tools for communication during periods of global political unrest.

It is worth noting that Google has published a disclaimer stating that it cannot verify the accuracy of all information posted on Person Finder, but the tool is already helping create connections that are essential during a dire time for Japan. Web site owners are also invited to embed Person Finder on their sites.

OStatic has previously covered many other open tools targeted at humanitarian applications, found here, and earthquake-specific tools, found here.


Abhijit Prabhudan uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?


I'm an American seeking information related to Kaoru-Kay Derrome West, a Japanese citizen living in Kamakura City, Kanagawa, Japan.

I'm wondering if she is ok following the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011.


Louis Chicatelli

0 Votes

I think it's very wise and thoughtful of Google to come up with a Person Finder. Even though the information may not always be accurate, still it's a big assistance to those who are searching for their missing loved ones in Japan and other calamity-stricken areas. It only proves that the company really cares and we can count on them in times of emergencies. More websites and companies should also provide support by making the open source application available on their web pages.

0 Votes
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