Google deploys Person Finder after Japan earthquake, tsunami leave hundreds dead

Google launched its Person Finder technology on Friday morning, in the aftermath of the Japan earthquake and tsunami.

Person Finder is an interactive database that allows users to search for missing persons online, or submit information about people who are injured or were missing.

The 8.9 magnitude Japan earthquake set off a massive tsunami, and the two have left behind floods, fires and the shutdown of public transportation systems and airports.

According to Times reporters in Tokyo and Beijing, up to 300 bodies have been found on a beach in Sendai, on the northeast coast of Japan, with another 110 confirmed dead in other parts of the country.

People looking for data on their loved ones, or government and aid agencies looking to coordinate efforts can all use Google’s Person Finder to have one central database on people and their respective conditions in this crisis.

Google first launched Person Finder after the Haiti earthquake and most recently deployed the tool for the Christchurch earthquake, a 6.3 temblor that struck Christchurch, New Zealand, on Feb. 22.

Currently there are more than 7,200 records being tracked on Person Finder, which is available in both Japanese and English, and Google has made the tool embeddable to other websites, which you can see embedded here, below:

Person Finder for the Japanese earthquake can be found on a Google Crisis Response website made for this natural disaster.

On that landing page, which can be viewed at, people can also view maps, related news stories, YouTube videos and other resources, such as links to Japanese utilities and government agencies.

Jamie Yood, a Google spokesman, said Person Finder for the Japanese Earthquake was online about an hour after the earthquake hit.

Person Finder is built by the Google Crisis Response team, which is made up of employees of the company’s philanthropic arm,, as well as other skilled workers who can contribute to the project.

The project is also open-source, and some non-Google employees have contributed to the project in the past, said Prem Ramaswami, a Google project manager who has been working on Person Finder during the Christchurch earthquake efforts.


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