Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Web Secret #283: Google Crisis Response is the most visited website in the world.

The odds are that during the course of this day, you will access a Google product. Just by visiting my blog you are on Blogger, a Google product. Google also owns YouTube. Google is everywhere.

There are some advantages to being the biggest kid on the block.

For starters, you have the money and the infrastructure to build products that are free and helpful to the public. Since Katrina, Google Crisis Response has worked to make critical information more accessible around natural disasters and humanitarian crises. Google's contributions can include: public alerts providing a warning before disasters cause damage, and information on how to stay safe, updated satellite imagery of the disaster area, charitable donations to organizations on-the-ground, and Internet based products designed to organize and coordinate critical response resources and information.

I want to use this post to showcase an especially important tool Google created in the wake of the earthquakes in Haiti: the Google Person Finder. Google Person Finder is a web application that allows individuals to post and search for the status of relatives or friends affected by a disaster. Websites can choose to embed Google Person Finder as a gadget on their own pages. Person Finder is free, and it has been launched in over 40 languages.

What's in it for us?

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a health care facility, even an individual practitioner can access the Google Crisis Response toolkit and become a better crisis responder. For example, Person Finder allows any EAP to have an expanded role and increased impact as part of the services provided during the aftermath of a major critical incident.

Check it out.

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