In response to the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck of the northeast coast of Japan at 2:46 p.m. local time today, Google has created a crisis response site. Leveraging Google Maps and Appspot, users can get up-to-the-minute news updates and, more importantly, search for missing people and report on the status of people who may have been affected.
The following tool can be embedded in any site and the form below is a live connection to the Google People Finder:
Click here to get instructions and code for embedding the tool on your own site.
Both Japanese and English content are available, covering alarms and warnings (particularly for tsunamis that are proving to be a larger issue than the quake itself), disaster bulletin and discussion boards, train information (Japanese), and blackout information (Japanese).
Google has used this tool recently to help people locate loved ones and aggregate information during the New Zealand flooding and Egyptian protests.
As Mashable noted,
During these times of disaster, it’s good to see Google taking swift action and leveraging its vastly popular search engine to help people cope and find information.