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Google’s Other Half

Since their inception, Google has made prolific attempts to achieve

“…universal distribution and accessibility of information to keep citizens equally informed..”

Doing so with a variety of projects that have splintered off into sister sites like Google Earth and Google Green.

Thus, it may be faulty to assume the existence of an other half, so much as a complimentary limb, however, with the creation of Google.org, Google has spawned a partner site that takes the company’s goal to a new philanthropic level.

In their own words, Google.org is an organization that,

“…develops technologies to help address global challenges and supports innovative partners through grants, investments and in-kind resources.”

The site has created projects that make use of their own technological innovations, such as the Crisis Response project, which is comprised of tools to assist in providing relief and information during the time of a disaster. Prime examples of the tools used include:

  • Google Public Alerts – This device has a similar same set-up to Google Maps, only the map is studded with alerts of disaster warnings pinpointed into the area of focus. So, if you were to go to Google Public Alerts and type “St. Louis” in the search bar, you may notice a flood alert or severe storm warning as you are zoomed further into the region.
  • Google Person Finder – In the midst of a crisis people may be separated from their loved ones, whether it be distant relatives or parents from their children. This tool enables people to reconnect as either party can report that they are lost or looking for a loved one, their information available to be shared by individuals and organizations so that it may be reached by the other party.
  • Google Crisis Map – In the wake of disaster, the Crisis Map provides information on damage as well as protective shelters. Most recently, Google has created a crisis map in response to the tornado in Oklahoma, complete with locations of Red Cross centers.

Another on-going project of interest is Google Flu and Dengue Trends. The latter, Dengue fever, is also known as backbone fever and occurs from exposure to the Dengue virus. Google Trends is useful because it can detect early signs of possible outbreaks of both viruses. Current Dengue trends, for example, show Thailand having the highest, and worst, rates of Dengue outbreaks; however, there are also indications that show rates inching up in Venezuela, from low to near moderate levels of widespread outbreaks.

In addition to alleviating disaster with relief and prevention, Google aids nonprofit organizations through funding, web tool discounts, and other accessible devices through their Google For Nonprofits project.  Devices assist the organizations in working more efficiently, with reliable information and resources, and helps when recruiting volunteers or donors.

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