YouTube helping with search for missing in Japan

March 18, 2011
Japanese rescue team workers walk amongst the destroyed houses and debris from the March 11 tsunami and earthquake in the city of Rikuzentakata in Iwate prefecture. Google offered up YouTube on Friday to help victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami find missing loved ones.

Google offered up YouTube on Friday to help victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami find missing loved ones.

The Google-owned video-sharing site began posting videos of victims of the disaster appealing for information about friends and family.

The brief videos, most of which are less than a minute long, were taken in shelters around Japan and are posted at .com/shousoku.

The "YouTube Missing Person Finder" is a video version of a "Person Finder" Web tool launched by in the immediate aftermath of the quake to help track down missing persons.

The "Person Finder" was tracking nearly 330,000 records as of Friday.

Google is also posting lists of residents of shelters on photo-sharing site Picasa.

Google has established a multi-lingual Crisis Response Page with links to the "Person Finder" and other resources such as emergency hotlines, relief organizations, travel information and maps.

A Google spokesman told AFP on Thursday that a number of employees of the Internet giant were devoting a fifth of their work time or more to building technology to help to deal with the disaster in Japan.

Google has long allowed employees to spend 20 percent of their time on engineering projects that interest them but which don't fall into their usual area of focus.

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