Google have recently created an online people finder gadget in partnership with the US department of state as part of their Haiti earthquake response website. They’ve also enhanced Google Earth imagery in the affected area to help relief organisations.
My initial thought was how great it is that technological advances and the internet in general can bring hope to many in times of crisis. What a great way to use technology to help people find love ones and make the jobs of the rescue teams just a little easier.
I also thought how philanthropic it was of Google to donate time and resources to help with this.
However, the cynic in me thought that this is also a great way to gain more exposure and good PR. I notice all the tools are clearly Google branded and what better way to gain exposure than get heavily involved in a very current and global event, well covered by the media. I can’t help but think the time and resources volunteered by Google wouldn’t have appeared so readily if there was nothing to be gained.
So is this a case of Google cashing in on a crisis? Well, perhaps so, but at the end of day, business has to carry on and no doubt Google’s efforts have helped a lot of people, so better to have a disaster sponsored and supported by Google than not at all.
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