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Google launches person finder after Chile quake

Web giant's resource page aims to help people share information about friends and loved ones who might be affected by the massive quake.

Google people finder page

Google is using a tool to help people locate friends and loved ones who might have been affected by Saturday's 8.8.-magnitude earthquake in Chile.

Google Person Finder allows users to search for information about people by name or leave information about people in both English and Spanish. As of Sunday morning, the page said it contained 22,900 records. However, the page cautions users that all data input would be viewable and usable by all and that the company plays no role in verifying the information. Google had set up a similar Person Finder tool after Haiti's recent earthquake.

A Google crisis response page also notes that Americans seeking information about those in Chile can call the U.S. State Department at 1-888-407-4747. The page includes a map listing recent seismic activity in Chile, as well as resources to donate money to charities supporting the earthquake relief effort. "Your donation will help disaster victims rebuild their lives and their communities," the page says.

As with the Haiti relief effort, donations can also be made via text message, according to the Mobile Giving Foundation, the organization that processes the donations. Cell users can make a $10 donation to the effort by texting the word "Chile" to any of the following numbers: 25383 (Habitat for Humanity), 20222 (World Vision), 85944 (International Medical Corp.), and 52000 (Salvation Army).

As of Sunday morning, local authorities had reported about 300 fatalities as a result of the massive quake, but that number was expected to rise.

Seismologists had feared a major tsunami would sweep across the Pacific Ocean as a result of the earthquake. People in Hawaii, where the greatest tsunami damage was feared, were evacuated to higher ground but no major damage was reported.

Related resources:
• Chile Earthquake reports on Twitter
• Tsunami reports on Twitter
• USGS data on the earthquake
• NOAA tsunami updates

Update at 6:15 a.m. PST March 1: Added a video posted on YouTube's CitizenTube and highlighted on the official YouTube blog page. Also, information on the Haitian person finder site has been added.