With over 30,000 dead, another tens of thousands missing, and 200,000 injured, coupled with a broken down mobile/land line and transportation system, many people are on a frantic search for each other, and Google mobilised 100 of its employees to help create a custom search engine entirely dedicated to helping people find their friends and loved ones. Other nifty tools found on this feature-rich page include Google Maps integrated with the latest earthquake and relief information, online donation facilities, and discussion forums where people can try to get in touch with each other.
Now all this sounds great, but apparently not everyone is happy. According to the owner of a Chinese site dedicated to translating Google Blogoscope (which broke the news), Google is just capitalising on the earthquake to promote its own products and was “cold blooded” in doing so. Philip Lenssen, author of the blog, says Kai-Fu Lee, President of Google Greater China, contacted him and…
…lists the different services Google rolled out in this situation and says many Chinese Google employees have been “working all night” on these… The Chinese Google employees, Kai-Fu argues, “have been the most dedicated and passionate people I have ever worked with. I am proud to be working among them. But I am very saddened to see the hard work they put in not recognized, and even attacked.” He adds: “At a difficult time like this, I hope we can all turn our anxiety and sadness into real contributions”.
Still, to put things in perspective, the people who are most affected by the earthquake probably haven’t even heard of Google, much less own a computer with which to log on to the site.