This morning Shona Brown, Senior Vice President of Google.org, was on Capitol Hill to testify before the Senate Homeland Security Committee on the use of technology in coordinating disaster relief efforts.

Google plays a modest role in crisis response compared to relief organizations and agencies, but we have found that the Internet can help users and relief workers quickly find the information they need during emergencies. For example, Google Person Finder – which helps loved ones reconnect during emergencies – managed more than 600,000 records following the earthquake in Japan, and there were more than 36 million page views within the first 48 hours alone.

During her testimony, Shona outlined three reasons how simple, standard and open Internet-based technologies are critical tools for emergency responders and affected populations: the Internet often remains available when other networks fail, people often turn to Internet services during emergencies, and the Internet scales and promotes openness.

You can read Shona’s full testimony here or watch video of the hearing here.