Business

Google uses its widely used products to help locate missing children

NOTE: GrowthBeat -- VentureBeat's provocative new marketing-tech event -- is a week away! We've gathered the best and brightest to explore the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the full scoop here, and grab your tickets while they last.

Google built Amber alerts — the broadcasted warning system for abducted children — into its search and maps products today, in the hopes that its huge user base could bring a lot more attention to local kidnappings.

The Amber alerts show up on your search and on maps whenever you type in keywords and are currently in a certain radius of that child’s abduction.  The alert has an orange circle next to it and lists information like the child’s name, age, gender, and when and where he or she was last seen. It also explains what the child was wearing and what type of vehicle the police are looking for, if relevant. You can, of course, click through to get even more information about the missing child.

Given the millions of people who use Google every day, it’s obvious why this is a desirable feature. Social media such as Twitter and Facebook have also been helpful in spreading the word about abducted individuals because of their “viral” nature.

This is a joint project between Google ‘s Public Affairs division and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Google is also working alongside organizations in other countries, such as the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and, on a larger scale, the Missing Children Europe organization.

Amber Alert image via Shutterstock


We're studying digital marketing compensation: how much companies pay CMOs, CDOs, VPs of marketing, and more, with ChiefDigitalOfficer. Help us out by filling out the survey, and we'll share the results with you.