One month ago, a massive 9.0 earthquake and one of the worst tsunamis in history struck northeastern Japan. Many people in the most impacted areas still have immediate needs for shelter and supplies, and we’re continuing to help by maintaining the Crisis Response page and building tools and resources related to the disaster.
Since the crisis, people around the world have sent countless messages of hope and support to the people of Japan. Some of them showed sympathy for the victims. Others encouraged us to look forward. Reading these messages—many of them in English—you can’t help but feel the support coming from around the world. But we wished more people in Japan could hear from these supporters and feel that same sense of hope—even if the senders spoke another language.
So we had an idea: a site where people around the world could input messages for Japan in their own languages and have them automatically translated into Japanese while raising funds to help Japan. And today, we’re pleased to share messagesforjapan.com. On the site, you can submit messages and have them automatically translated to Japanese by Google Translate. Of course, people who speak Japanese can also post messages in Japanese if they’d like. You can see messages on the world map, browse them in their original language or in Japanese and donate to the rebuilding effort. We’re planning to deliver some of these messages to people in Japan via offline media as well.
In 1995, I was a volunteer in the disaster area following the Great Hanshin Earthquake in Kobe, Japan. After the craziness of first few weeks, I realized just how long it takes to recover from a disaster, and how important is it to rebuild not just the affected cities and towns but also people’s spirits. With this recent crisis, there’s no doubt that we have a long way to go. We hope that these messages from around the world will provide inspiration to the people of Japan as we face this challenge, and that the donations raised through this site and others will help the country on its road to rebuilding.
A final note: Donations raised via the Crisis Response page have exceeded five million dollars so far. We truly appreciate your contributions and thank you for your continued support.
Beyond all the technology and talk of open source and Android and search and AdWords it must be said that teams at Google consistently and quickly create ground-breaking services that empower us to connect and help each other when we need it most.