Truly, Google Earth now gets major props as a WONDER of the web. Not only is this internet giant committed to helping those in need (Google’s philanthropic wing, with the goals of raising awareness around international issues like poverty and climate change, was started in 2004), it’s also using its technology and innovations to serve a variety of nonprofit functions, such as the new feature which tracks the movement of refugees. It also allows for some in-close views of specific refugee sites as well as data about the camps and the work being done by various nonprofits there. Not only does this new function allow for current publicity for tons of grassroots organizations that otherwise might go unnoticed in the public eye, it will also most likely become a way to identify and clearly see teh extent of trouble spots around the globe.
I’m all for fun and games and innovation, and Google does both of these things well. I enjoyed their April Fool’s pranks this year with Virgle and the associated commentary on the way our world is going environmentally. I love the innovations that seem to be constantly coming with Gmail and associated services – first Gchat, then offline chatting and continuously updating email conversations, and finally AIM on Gchat. But when something comes along like this that not only innovates, but also specifically targets those most in need and gives the wider world clearer understanding of that need and how to help – that’s something truly touching.
Google, you rock.