Google switches on Christchurch earthquake service
'Personfinder' worked in Haiti
Google is offering its "personfinder" database to help people in Christchurch, New Zealand find friends and family in the wake of last night's earthquake.
The googlepersonfinder home page has two buttons - one for those looking for someone and another button for surfers who have information about a Christchurch resident.
The database uses the PFIF (People Finder Interchange Format), which means others outside Google can make use of the data.
The information is not checked and is publicly available. All information will be stored for a year after the disaster, then deleted if a long-term owner cannot be found.
The service was first offered in Haiti after last January's earthquake.
It is a product of Google's philanthropic arm, Google.org. The site aimed to solve the issue of multiple databases created in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which meant residents had to check several different sites when searching for family or friends.
Developers can get involved in improving Google's people finder here.
Pass, not fail
Well, there are "about 6900 records" for a city of 400k inhabitants, so far. I make that 1.7% so check back in a couple of days. Anything like this is bound to be statistically successful at best. I found good news about friends in ChCh, but I already knew they were OK. The Internet is up and running there.
Kudos to Google for trying.
Why duplicate the existing Red Cross 'Safe and Well' site?
The multilingual site https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php was created in 2006. Why reinvent the wheel four years later and create a divisive reporting mechanism? Why make loved ones search in two different places, why expect disaster survivors to sign up at Google's site as well as the Red Cross site?
wouldn't it be a great way of assembling a database of who was linked to whom?