After the massive earthquake in Nepal that left 1,900 people dead and almost 5,000 injured, people have started using Google and Facebook’s safety tools to locate their loved ones in the quake hit regions and/or to ease the worries of their relatives by letting them know that they are fine.
Reportedly, Facebook had come up with the ‘safety check’ feature last October and with the help of this feature people in earthquake affected regions can let their relatives know that they are safe by clicking on the safe button. People who know that their friends in an affected region are safe can mark them safe on their behalf.
“This morning we activated Safety Check for people affected by the earthquake in Nepal. It’s a simple way to let family and friends know you’re okay. If you’re in one of the areas affected by the earthquake, you’ll get a notification asking if you’re safe, and whether you want to check on any of your friends. When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe. It’s moments like this that being able to connect really matters. My thoughts are with everyone who’s been caught up in this tragedy,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post this morning.
Even Google, the global search giant, has adapted its Person Finder tool to help friends and relatives of the victims of a devastating earthquake that struck the Himalayan country of Nepal Saturday. The Web application, launched in 2010 after a massive quake in Haiti, was created to help families and first responders gather and relay information about missing people to loved ones.
As of Saturday evening in Nepal, the service had more than 600 records.
Google’s Person Finder feature is to basically build a missing persons database. In this tool there are two options, the first one states “I’m looking for someone” and the second one says, “I have information about someone” and you can make your updates by clicking on either. The tool is available in English and Nepali.
Apart from these digital platforms, even telephone network providers are helping in the search of missing people. For the next two days, Idea and Bharti Airtel have made all calls to Nepal (on the home network) free, while BSNL and MTNL announced that they will take local charges for the next three days for any call made to Nepal.
Moreover, the search is available through SMS in India and the US by sending “search <name>” to +91-9773300000 (India) or +1-650-800-3978 (US).