As the news of the massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit the coast of Japan today, sending two tsunamis into the city of Sendai (some reports claim one was a 30ft tsunami), Google has been actively alerting its users to the dangers in the Pacific. This is a very important effort by Google especially for regions of the world which suffer from natural disasters, such as the unfortunate 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Christchurch, New Zealand in February 2011 or the devastating 9.1 magnitude earthquake that that struck Aceh, Indonesia in 2004.
Upon opening the Google Search page an Tsunami alert notice has been placed at the base of the search box informing users of the Tsunami alert for the region.
"Tsunami Alert for New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, and others. Waves expected over the next few hours, caused by 8.9 earthquake in Japan."
Combined with the Google Person Finder, the Tsunami alert is another good initiative by Google in this area. Google could have anything between 150 to 300 million users per day, making the Google homepage a very effective platform to get such an important message out to people potentially affected by natural disasters.
The Person Finder is multi lingual and allows users to create a record of someone they know is missing or report if someone has been found. Users can search through records to find out about friends or family they are concerned about. The latest version of the search tool is for the 2011 Japanese earthquake and Tsunami. The Google Person Finder feature can be embedded on any website using following code for 2011 Japan earthquake (http://japan.person-finder.appspot.com/embed) or Christchurch 2011 earthquake (http://christchurch-2011.person-finder.appspot.com/embed) or added as a Google Gadget (http://japan.person-finder.appspot.com/gadget?lang=en).
These tools are part of the wider Google Crisis Response Centre please visit Google Crisis Response Japan for more specific information on 2011 Japanese earthquake and Tsunami or the Google Crisis Response Christchurch earthquake, which provides useful maps and resources such as Resource Finder (for example the Haiti Resource Finder) that provides maps with up-to-date information on where health care can be located.