Orphan Uses Google Earth to Find Family

An Indian man used Google and Facebook to find his family, lost after 25 years.

The power of Google reunited a onetime orphan with his family, some 25 years after they were separated across a continent, according to reports.

Saroo Brierley was five years old and begging at a train station in 1987 with his brother in Khandwa, a town in central India, when he boarded a train. Problem is, he fell asleep and woke up 900 miles away from where he was supposed to be, according to The Mercury, a Tasmanian publication.

Brierly tried to return but suffered a litany of setbacks worthy of the Old Testament, according to SF Weekly, and ended up in an orphanage. From there, he was adopted by Tasmanian parents and began working at their industrial supply company. His brother, he later learned, was found dead on the train tracks.

When he turned 20, he began searching for his natural family, using Google and Facebook, according to reports. He spent "years scouring Google Earth images" of Indian towns until he found one that matched the memories he had as a child: specifically, Ganesh Talai.

"Using Google Earth, I spent so many hours zooming in and out looking for something I recognized," he told the Mercury.

From there, he used Facebook to find and email locals, then traveled there and found his family. His mother, it was reported, was told by a fortune teller that he'd return. And he did.

With an assist from Silicon Valley

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