March 11, 2011: We Found the Power of Social Media (Part 2)

(A continued discussion of the use of social media in Japan around March 11, 2011)


Google saved the lives of people in my country, Japan, in a way that other websites could not. Google created Google Person Finder site for Japan so that the people could leave information about their whereabouts and inquire about missing persons. Within three days after the quake and tsunami, about 160,000 records were posted on the site, helping people connect their missing families and friends. In addition, Google Maps helped us understand the damage of the crisis by using high-resolution satellite images. Moreover, Google Traffic Map, based on traffic data provided by Honda and Pioneer, was of great help for drivers in Japan. Blue lines on the map showed routes traversed by cars equipped with Honda and Pioneer car navigation systems during 0:00 – 24:00 the day before, indicating these roads were likely to be open. On the other hand, gray lines showed no movement, meaning these ways were probably blocked. Especially, the map greatly helped volunteers find the best ways to the devastated areas, and deliver relief goods to victims.