On the day that the tragic earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan, Google launched a Person Finder app to help people find their friends and loved ones who were among the tsunami victims. Over the weekend, Google’s YouTube launched a Person Finder channel of their own. The YouTube Person Finder channel aggregates video messages from earthquake victims to help victims and families find one another.
Tai Hasagawa, Product Marketing Manager at YouTube, announced the YouTube Person Finder on the YouTube blog. Tai writes:
“Our hope is that this channel will help victims and their families to establish each other’s safety, and that the video messages will reach many viewers and motivate them to contribute to the recovery and restoration of the disaster-stricken areas.”
Via the YouTube Person Finder, which is in Japanese, viewers can search for videos using the search box within the module. Users can search for the names of missing people in Kanji, Katakana or Hiragana, the name of shelter locations, the name of the place where the person lived, browse videos by the Japanese alphabet or navigate through videos in a playlist. The YouTube Person Finder also links to the Google Person Finder tool, so users have a couple of places to check for information on their friends, family and loved ones who were victims of the disaster.
The launch of the YouTube Person Finder follows news last week of a Japanese student in California who found her family alive via YouTube. The student, Akiko Kosaka, had resigned herself to the fact that her family was dead when a friend in Japan called to tell her that she saw a video on YouTube that featured Akiko’s sister, holding a sign to let Akiko know that her family was alive. I hope that the YouTube Person Finder will lead to more stories, like Akiko’s, of people discovering that their friends and family in Japan are okay.
Please spread the word about the YouTube Person Finder, as well as Google’s Person Finder app and please let us know if you hear stories about families and friends finding one another via YouTube and social media. If you are looking for more ways to help out, check out our list of 10 ways to help Japan through social media.