The Story Of How Google Maps Reunited An Indian Orphan With The Family He Lost 25 Years Ago Will Make You Cry

When he was five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India and was separated from his family. He spent weeks wandering Calcutta until he was adopted by a young Australian couple who gave him a happy and comfortable life. In 2009, when Brierley was a recent college graduate, he thought it might be interesting to try to find his birth family, using nothing but his photographic memory and Google Earth.

Google released an ad summarizing how that happened in just three minutes. It’s riveting.

This is not the first time Brierley’s story has been told, and one might wonder what took Google so long to take advantage of such a great opportunity to repackage Google Earth as something more than a mere novelty. Vanity Fair first ran a feature story in their November 2012 issue, and Brierley released his book “A Long Way Home” this past June.

The amazing thing about this ad is that for even a few minutes, you forget how massive Google’s photographic map database of practically the entire planet must be, while you ponder its personal uses.