Technology to the rescue as Facebook, Google tools help ease Nepal jitters

As Nepal grapples with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, a recently introduced application on Facebook may be helping some families and acquaintances breathe a sigh of relief.

The social network's Safety Check, which it rolled out last year, asks users in an area affected by disaster or tragedy if they are safe. Contacts can also find friends in the area, and in turn get notified about their status.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg took to his account on Saturday to remind users of the feature. He also expressed his own sympathies to those affected by the massive earthquake, which has left at least 2000 people dead.

Google also has a similar tool called Person Finder, which functions as a missing persons database. The tech giant launched the application in 2010, using it sporadically in several natural disasters. Not to be outdone, Apple also unfurled its own relief effort, pointing iTunes users to a donation link for the American Red Cross.

Among the outpouring of grief and well wishes on social media, several accounts expressed their gratitude to Facebook and Google for their technological ingenuity.