Google Person Finder helping to find missing persons

The search giant is using its service to help people find or offer details on missing persons in response to the flooding in the Philippines.

(Credit: Google)

The recent flooding in the Philippines has left many people stranded or missing. Now Google is using its Person Finder page to aid the search.

Person Finder is aimed at connecting missing persons with their loved ones. Anyone who is looking for a lost person or has information about someone who has been found can use the Person Finder page to post that person's name.

If you're looking for someone who's missing, you can enter the person's name or at least parts of the name. And if you have information on someone who's been located, you can enter the person's first and last names.

On the other end, responders can embed the Person Finder code in a website, and then download and upload data to sync their own databases with the Person Finder. Press agencies, non-governmental agencies and organisations can contribute to the database and receive updates as they come in.

Google created Person Finder as an open-source project in January 2010 in response to the Haiti earthquake.

One problem that arose during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was that responders had to deal with multiple databases to search for and track missing persons. As a solution, Person Finder uses a specific data format that allows information from different sources to be catalogued in a single place.

The American Red Cross offers a searchable database, where you can report yourself as safe or search for people who have checked in. But that site only handles US disasters. For those hurt by the Philippines flooding, Person Finder and Google's data are available in either English or Filipino.

Heavy rains in the Philippines have led to the deaths of nine people in the capital of Manila, and another four in the province of Laguna, just south of Manila. So far, more than 50 people have died as a result of the flooding across the country, according to CBS News. Thousands more are stranded on rooftops without food or water.


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