TORONTO – Internet giant Google quickly came to the aid of the family and friends of Boston Marathon runners looking for their loved ones after two deadly explosions were set off near the finish line of the race.
The Google Person Finder was created in 2010 following the devastating earthquake in Haiti. On Monday, shortly after two bombs went off within seconds of each other, Google created a page dedicated to the Boston Marathon.
The tool allows users to enter the name of a person they’re looking for, or enter information about someone who is there.
The site also gives users the phone numbers for the Mayor of Boston’s hotline for families of victims and the Boston Police line for witnesses, and a link to the Red Cross’s website.
Users can select the “I’m looking for someone” tool and enter the name of their loved one to see if there has been an entry added for that person; or, users can select “I have information about someone” to add a person’s name to the list.
As of Tuesday morning Google Person Finder was tracking about 5200 records related to the Boston Marathon bombing.
The tool became useful to people trying to locate marathon participants and bystanders as cellphone use became difficult in the Boston area following the blasts due to heavy cellphone traffic.
The tool does issue a disclaimer stating that Google doesn’t review or verify any information, and notes that all details are public.
Google Person Finder was created as part of Google Crisis Response, which aims to make information more accessible at times of crisis around the world.