Search Engine Debuts New Virtual Record Feature

By Jamie Epstein December 06, 2012

The March 2011 catastrophic event known as the tsunami that ravaged Japan left more than 28,000 innocent people dead in its wake, sparking search engine Google to unveil its Person Finder site that that was developed with the underlying goal of assisting those affected with finding their loved ones within the aftermath of the devastation. The company didn’t stop there, having launched only a few months later Street View cars equipped with cameras in order to better display the disaster zone from a 360-degree, bird’s eye view point.

 Now, almost two years later, while the country is still attempting to recover from its unfortunate circumstances, Google is once again remaining at the edge of innovation with its brand new digital archive project that enables users to closely analyze buildings that were affected by massive amounts of water, without ever having to leave their couches.

 In a recent piece featured on the ABC News website, it was revealed that the “Memories for the Future” site shows interested visitors over 30 buildings situated within the most affected cities in the country including Rikuzentakata, Kamaishi, Ofunato and Namie.

 “The panoramic images allow users to walk through a gutted city office, where smashed cars still remain, surrounded by scraps of metal and wood,” the article stated.


We have been trying to find ways using the power of technology to help communities recover and help them tell stories,&rdquo stated Kei Kawai, product manager at Google. &ldquoOur hope is that we can provide tools to let other people know what it&rsquos like to be in the region now.&rdquo

 This is far from the first time that the company has leveraged technology to show the affects of natural disasters, having also used its products to depict how badly New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina in addition to how an earthquake forever changed Haiti. Yet, this a first for Google that it has seamlessly integrated both Street View and Business Photos features to outline the areas hard hit on such a great scale.

Throughout the world, technology is increasingly being utilized to save lives. Just look at Doctors Without Borders, a medical humanitarian organization created from the ground up with the sole purpose of giving medical care to people who desperately need it and have been involved in either some act of violence, neglect, or catastrophe. The group of do gooders gives those who wouldn&rsquot normally be able to afford or even have access to portable and practical medical technology.

"GWOB can be a major stepping stone in ensuring that everyone can have information to not only life-saving devices, but also vital information needed during times of crisis &ndash everything from cell phone networks to news access to weather reports," an article outlined.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

TechZone360 Web Editor

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