Technology firms Google and Facebook have launched emergency tools to help people find their friends lost in the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal.
Google, which confirmed its privacy executive Dan Fredinburg had lost his life in an avalanche triggered by the tremors while climbing Mount Everest, put forward its Person Finder, first introduced after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
The tool allows people to send text messages to a Google number inquiring about missing people or providing information about those who have been found.
According to Wired, the tool has already collected 5,300 records in the past two days.
Facebook’s Nepal Earthquake safety check allows people to receive information about those in their network who may have been in the area affected by the disaster. The tool gathers available GPS data and information from profile updates. It specifically ask people believed to be in the affected area to report on their status. In case an individual can’t update his or her own information, a Facebook friend can provide the update instead.
The social media firm’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new tool in a post on his Facebook page on Saturday. “It's a simple way to let family and friends know you're okay,” he said. “If you're in one of the areas affected by the earthquake, you'll get a notification asking if you're safe, and whether you want to check on any of your friends.”
3,700 people have already been confirmed killed in the disaster that struck on Saturday followed by two days of powerful aftershocks. Authorities have confirmed the death toll could reach up to 5,000 as they are still working to establish contact with some of the most remote areas.
On Mount Everest, hundreds of mountaineers remain trapped in the base camp following the tragic avalanche, which killed not only the Google privacy director Fredinburg but also 16 other people. The accident is the biggest tragedy to date to have hit those looking to conquer the world’s highest peak.
Fredinburg, a self-confessed adventurer, was behind Google’s Adventure project – an outdoor version of Street View looking to provide a detailed database of maps and visual data about some of the world’s most remote and exotic places including the summit of Mount Everest and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Fredinburg was climbing the peak with other three Google employees. All of his companions survived.
Google said it was "working to get updated satellite imagery to aid in the recovery effort" and committed to provide one million dollars (£666,000) to the quake response.