Google has explained how it has a special team of engineers called the Crisis Response Team that are set up to react quickly to set up tools like the People Finder that was a great help in the aftermath of the Japan and New Zealand earthquakes.

Google has won widespread praise for its swift responses to disasters, providing online products that could save lives - and the search giant has blogged about the team that deals with major events.

"The Google Crisis Response Team came together in 2010 after a few engineers and I realized that we needed a scalable way to make disaster-related information immediately available and useful in a crisis," blogged Prem Ramaswami, the product manager for the Google Crisis Response Team.

Crises

"Until a little over a year ago, we responded to crises with scattered 20 percent time projects, but after the Haiti earthquake in January 2010 we saw the opportunity to create a full-time team that would make critical information more accessible during disaster situations," he added.

"For us to help during a crisis, it's vital to get things done really quickly, and we've been able to do that as a small team within Google.

"Working from a standard already developed by one of the Google engineers, Person Finder was built and launched in 72 hours after the Haitian earthquake, and it launched within three hours after the New Zealand earthquake in February.

" Unfortunately, there have been an unusually high number of disasters over the last year, forcing us to learn and get even faster."

Ramaswami believes that Google's efforts help organise responses, and that his work can make a difference.

"...although we're a small team and still relatively new to the crisis response ecosystem, we hope the resources and support we receive from Google and our community partners around the world will make a difference in preparedness efforts."