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May 19, 2008

Google China's Homepage in Mourning

The homepages of Google China, Yahoo China and other sites turned black today to commemorate the victims of last week's devastating earthquake. "Construction workers put down their tools, drivers stopped suddenly in the street, and rescuers briefly paused in their increasingly vain search for survivors amid the rubble of China's earthquake devastation. China stopped for three minutes to mourn the estimated 50,000 people killed by the earthquake exactly one week earlier," notes The Press Association.


Google China links to a custom search engine for sites that include information about missing persons. Kai-Fu Lee, President of Google China, told Google Blogoscoped: "[Engineering lead Harry Ke] and two other engineers came up with the idea of helping people search for lost relatives or friends. Given there are... tens of thousands still trapped, and some 200,000 wounded, and many more homeless. Also, cell phone and land lines are mostly not working. Transportation is difficult because the disaster area is on mountains and valleys. So, there are many people frantically looking for lost relatives and friends."

There's also a page for offering donations that mentions "Google will donate $2 million, including $1.7 million from Google.org, to help assist in relief and rebuilding efforts". A special Google Earth layer shows recent high-resolution imagery from the areas affected by the earthquake.

{ Thanks, Matthew Chan. }

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