Just like the rest of the world, Google says they have been transfixed by the images and news coming out of the northeastern part ofÂ JapanÂ over the past six days.
Googlers in Japan and elsewhere around the world have been working around the clock to try and help improve the flow of information. Here are some of the recent developments weâ€™ve been working on:
OurÂ Crisis Response pageâ€”now in Japanese, English, Chinese andÂ Koreanâ€”organizes all ofÂ Googleâ€™s efforts, with links to valuable resources such as emergency hotlines, Person Finder, blackout schedules, maps and links to relief organizations receiving donations.Â Ninety-three percentof mobile users in Japan donâ€™t have top-of-the-line smartphones, so weâ€™ve recentlyÂ optimized this Crisis Response page to make it more readable for a wider range of devices.
You can also access that version by scanning this QR code with your smartphone:
Within the first two hours of the earthquake, Google launchedÂ Person Finder so people can enter the names of those theyâ€™re looking for or have found. You can now also search byÂ entering mobile phone numbers to see if they match any listings. And as with the Crisis Response page, Person Finder has also beenÂ optimized for those without smartphones. There are currently more than 250,000 records in the database (including names shared with us by NHK, the national broadcaster in Japan) and weâ€™ve heardÂ several reports of people who have found their loved ones safe.
To help the many people in shelters get word of their whereabouts to loved ones, weâ€™re also asking people in shelters to take photos of the handwritten lists of names of current residents andÂ email them to us. Those photos are automatically uploaded to a publicÂ Picasa Web Album. We use scanning technology to help us manually add these names to Person Finder; but itâ€™s a big job that canâ€™t be done automatically by computers alone, soÂ we welcome volunteers with Japanese language skills who want to help out.
Weâ€™re also working with our satellite partnersÂ GeoEyeÂ andÂ DigitalGlobeÂ to provide frequent updates to our imagery of the hardest-hit areas toÂ first respondersÂ as well as the general public. You can view this imagery in thisÂ Google Earth KML, browse itÂ online through Google Maps or look through ourÂ Picasa album of before-and-after images of such places asÂ Minamisanriku andÂ Kesennuma.
You can follow developments on the ground by looking at several maps that track changing developments. Weâ€™veÂ mapped rolling blackoutsfor areas that are affected byÂ power outages. With data given to us by Honda, you can now see which roads have been recently passable onÂ this map or this user-madeÂ Google Earth mashup with new satellite imagery. Weâ€™re also constantly updating a master map (inÂ Japanese andEnglish) with other data such as epicenter locations and evacuation shelters. And with information from the newspaper Mainichi, weâ€™ve published aÂ partial list of shelters.
UseÂ Google Translate for Japanese and 56 other languages. You can paste in any text, or enter the address of any web page for automatic translation. We also just released an early experimental version ofÂ Google Translate for Android to help non-Japanese speakers in affected areas.
Visit ourÂ Crisis Response resource page to find opportunities to donate. When you donate to Japan relief efforts throughÂ Google Checkout, we absorb processing feesâ€”so 100% of your money goes to the organizations. Google has also donated $250,000 to help the people of Japan recover.
Credit: Nobu Makida, Product Manager, on behalf of the Google Japan and international Crisis Response teams.
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