If you need to check on someone in Boston, I recommend Safe And Well. Just please don't go to the site unless you actually need to check on someone. The servers don't need the added load (which I guess would be a reason to want to use Google, but they aren't going to be on scene like the Red Cross will be).
> Due to high volume, Safe and Well is experiencing slow page loads at this time. Please continue to check back.
Edit: Also, I hate to bag on anything disaster-relief related, but it's not very useful even when it is working, as it returns results from what looks like the Red Cross's entire database of these records, rather than those scoped to today.
Federation of this data is the most important aspect of it, because people use many different sources for news and information, and should not have to search for every possible database of missing persons to find the information they need. For example, after the 2010 Haitian Earthquake, CNN, the New York Times, the Miami Herald, and the Google Person Finder all shared data so that if any one (or several) went down, all that information was still available from other sources.
In any case, I don't know if you were trying to score free internet points or just being snarky, but it's generally a good idea to do basic research before repeating non sequiturs.
Kudos for donating money, but they announced a big contest, got tons of input and made this seem like a big focus, and then when that toy wasn't fun to play with anymore they ignored it for a few years until somebody remembered they had money to give away.
I'd rather not-for-profits continue disaster relief, like they have been, and the for-profits actively choosing to donate to them.
Edit: reading shrikant's response elsewhere, it appears that there is quite a difference. That is very cool, then :)
The organization has committed over $100 million in investments and grants as of May 2010."
As much as I like to rag on Google for their lip-service to "don't be evil", this isn't such a case. I don't think Google.org has a [direct] profit motive.
I don't know it the Red Cross system supports the relevant data exchange standard, although they seem to have been talking about it in the past with the Person Finder team. A finder that falls over under load isn't very useful.
Also the city is doing the same through the Mayor's Hotline: 617-635-4500
And the whining in this thread is deplorable.
that was pretty quick indeed.
What kind of implications could this tool possibly have for witness protection? It returns data that was explicitly entered in connection with a specific disaster, and you can only search by name. Someone who's in hiding isn't going to give out their original identity, so how exactly do you propose to use this to track them?
Did you even click through to see what this thing really does, or did you actually just assume that "Person Finder" must be some kind of magical privacy-violating anal probe and rush to type out the first paranoid, nonsensical and idiotic thing to run through your head and click post as a knee-jerk reaction?