Uncategorized 25 Mar 2011 03:14 pm

Google Steps Up Globally in Times of Natural Disaster

In recent years, the Google Corporation has been criticized for its dominant market position — a status the company has slowly accumulated based on the multi-faceted services it offers.

Most people are familiar with Google Search, which is the most dominant web search engine in the United States, because it is the company’s most popular service. But Google actually offers some 100 other products and services. Google is able to offer most of these programs free of charge because its profit is primarily derived through advertising programs.

And in the early morning hours of March 11, 2011, Google launched yet another program that would temporarily silence any critics of the company’s global hold in the market.

In the aftermath of Japan’s 8.9 magnitude earthquake, which set off colossal tsunamis that wiped out infrastructure and uprooted thousands of civilians, Google’s Crisis Response team initiated a Japanese version of its Person Finder.

Google’s People Finder is a multi-language database tool that aids in locating lost family members and friends in the time of crisis. Users have the ability to search for the names of people they’ve lost and to post news about people they have found.

Because national disasters often disrupt traditional channels of communications, Google has attempted to create a tool that can mediate the organization and registry of people who may be missing. Specifically, Google Ideas is a think-tank that studies where technology can help solve the world’s problems — and then actually develops them into usable products and services.

Although the Google Corporation has an increasing multinational presence, its ability to create a massive online database that facilitates the location of alive and deceased crisis victims is unsurpassed.

This not only shows the positive role that Google’s People Finder has played within countries during times of crisis, but also demonstrates the growing presence that technology has in our lives today.

Caitlin Smith

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