Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How Saroo Brierley found his parents after nearly 20 years using Google Earth and Facebook

Planning missile attacks on civilians
In the early Internet days, we were confident that the Net would lead to increased democracy and prosperity, leaving dictators with a dilemma -- the need to risk political instability in order to obtain the benefits of the Internet.

Today, we have a more nuanced view of the Internet -- we see that it is not only used by democrats, but by dictators and even terrorists, as illustrated here by the use of Google Earth to plan missile attacks.

But, Google Earth has plenty of positive uses, and a recent Vanity Fair article A Home at the End of Google Earth gives a moving example. It tells the story of five-year-old Saroo Munshi Khan who was separated from his older brother at a train station and found himself lost in the slums of Calcutta. Nearly 20 years later, living in Australia, he found his way back home using ingenuity, hazy memories, Google Earth and Facebook.
Zeroing in on Khan's boyhood home

Vanity Fair also made a Google Earth video of the search with Saroo narrating. I'd read the story first if I were you.