What is Google Person Finder

How to use the Google Person Finder to find loved ones after a disaster

Barely an hour and a half from Boston, watching the aftermath of the recent bombings on the Boston Marathon was a bit surreal. I know there are many readers from different countries who visit MUO, and a lot of those countries are a bit violent - and bombings are not uncommon. However, bombing raids are very rare in Boston. And when things are rare, they are unexpected and people are unprepared for the consequences.

What are the consequences? Regardless of the death toll, any major crisis that crashes communications systems or travel disrupts quite a large number of people from the outside world. This is the case not only with violent attacks, but more often with earthquakes, cyclones, and other natural disasters. When the social infrastructure goes down, family and friends outside the danger zone get really nervous when they can't get in touch with their loved ones. Add to this the fact that the news media immediately reports the increase in body size and you will find yourself in a situation of panic.

The good people at Google stopped seeing this communication in 2011 after the major earthquake in Turkey, Person Finder Service in Turkish after the recent 7.2 earthquake that struck Turkey. Over 200 people were killed in the earthquake, many are still missing. Google's Person Finder targets ... Read More Google Person Finder is offered as a free service to the general public and to emergency responders following a disaster.

Use the Google People Finder

No, this is not a way to find information about people on the internet. 12 websites to find people on the internet. 12 websites to find people on the internet. If you are looking for a long-lost friend, or maybe you want to do some background checking, check out these free resources for finding people on the internet. Continue reading . It's a way of looking for people in real life. It's actually an intelligent system that someone should have thought of years ago.

How it works is relatively straightforward, and there are some additional features that you can embed on your own website, which I'll cover in more detail later in this article. The first time you go to the Google People Finder page, you'll see a list of the currently active events for which the People Finder is currently active. When I went in there was already an alarm box for the Sichuan earthquake up on the construction site.

On an event page you will find two large link boxes. The current database size is also displayed under these links. The Sichuan earthquake event had already collected over 1,000 missing people by the time I came to the site.

The goal here is essentially to connect first responders or locals who have missing person information with the remote family members who fear for their loved ones. Family and friends can visit the Google Person Finder. Click "I'm looking for someone," then type the name of the person you want.

When someone has entered information about that person in the Google People Finder, the details of the entry will be displayed. This could be a first responder using the Google system to report this “xx was injured in the earthquake, but not seriously injured. Treated and taken to the xxxx hospital. " Or local friends reported that the person was injured but they are alive and well.

That is exactly the "I have information about someone" link that is all about.


First responders or local residents can use the form to provide as much detail as possible about the person they know they cannot contact their own family members on their own.

Indeed, if you are ever in an area - anywhere in the world - where such a catastrophic event is taking place. If you are one of the lucky survivors and you are unharmed, working on providing such a service can do a great deal of good for everyone who is injured. With just a little bit of information, the world can mean the most distant family members who are concerned that their loved ones are right on the path of destruction.

Advanced Google Person Finder features

If the service was that simple it would be pretty grim. Useful but kind of boring. Well, we're talking about Google, the land of APIs, code developers, and app integration here. Google Person Finder offers even more, of course.

Only when you click on the “Developer” link at the bottom of the website will you be able to access the GooglePersonFinder developer section. The Wiki tab contains information about the DataAPI for which you can request a key. You can then either pull data from the Person Finder database or insert data into the database using your own applications.


Doing that is slightly outside the scope of this article (although it could be a topic for another article), but suffice it to say you can do some pretty cool things with it. Build your own web app right on your website so your readers can interact with Google People Finder right from your website. Create an Android app that users can use to access the database while on the move. This is of course a very nice function for people in the crisis region who may not have access to a computer, but still have a smartphone (if the cell phone connections are available).

Actually, my favorite feature - because of its simplicity - is the fact that you can embed the people finder iframe code right into your website. If you are focused on a specific event, you can put the event name right in the embed code.


This way, visitors to your website get an embedded box where they can interact with the Google Person Finder right on your page without leaving your website.

If you click on one of the links, the form is displayed in the iframe. Just make sure the box is sized correctly so that no parts of the forms are cut off!


Finally, there is also an individual repository feed or the global feed for each event in order to receive updates on all events. The global section is the one I personally preferred for RSS as it will warn you of any crisis around the world that warrants using the Google Person Finder system. This global feed is “https://www.google.org/personfinder/global/feeds/repo”.


The service was activated during the recent bombings on the Boston Marathon and certainly proved valuable during that event. Cell phone service has been disabled, so such service was vital. According to the NY Daily news, at least 100 people were able to upload their own information via cell phones immediately after the explosions.

There is much to be said for simple services that keep family and friends connected, and offer the peace of mind that someone who cares deeply is still alive. This can mean the difference between a sleepless night or realizing and removing all worries. Hopefully this is a google service reader. Not the only one - Alternative for 3 dead Google services - The reader is not the only one - Alternatives for 3 dead Google services On its long way serving as an overlord of the internet, Google had some good ideas and some bad ideas. However, Google has some pretty interesting and obscure projects on the… Read more ... that are not going away with us. Of course you can't really rely on it these days, can you?

Do you know the Google Person Finder? Have you ever used it or do you know someone who had to? Do share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Photo credits: Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com

Learn more about: Google.