Google develops new system to trace quake survivors

Monday, January 18, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - Web search giant Google has created a centralised search system for tracking down people missing in the Haitian earthquake, the company announced Monday in a blog posting.

The new platform incorporates the major people search services that sprang up in the US media in the days following the devastating temblor. However, news sites like CNN, The Miami Herald and The New York Times, all collected similar information, people may not find each other if they’re looking in the wrong places online.

The new service overcomes that problem and is built to easily integrate into other media sites to become the central trove of information about missing people and those looking for them.

Google’s missing people finder - available in English, French and Creole - was developed in 36 hours by Google engineers “in consultation with the US State Department”, according to details distributed by the company.

The international community was bracing for a possible death toll between 150,000 and 200,000 from the strong earthquake, according to US Lieutenant General P.K. Keen, who is in command of US military relief efforts.

Google reacted swiftly to the disaster updating its Google Earth application with up-to-date imagery soon after the earthquake struck in order to help aid organisations assess the damage.

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