Harnessing Google to help catch a suspected killer

By Laura Maltby Thursday 18 October 2012 Updated: 18/10 09:05

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Buy photos » Kenilworth resident Mike Downes has used Google+ to connect with more than 20,000 people. (s)

HELPING capture a suspected murderer has seen a Kenilworth man honoured by internet giant Google.

Luka Magnotta fled from Canada in May this year after a video depicting the dismembering of a Chinese student was posted online.

And through his own knowledge of multilingual social networking service Google+, Mike Downes showed Interpol and Toronto Police how to establish a press conference using Google+ Hangouts – an internet-based video chat.

Magnotta was apprehended a month later in an internet café in Berlin while reading news stories about himself.

Mike has worked with other media organisations, including KOMU TV in the USA, to teach them about using Google+ Hangouts as a tool for reporters to file stories from remote locations.

And it is this as well as work with law enforcements agencies overseas helping them to increase their presence on the web, which prompted him to be recognised as a 'hometown hero' by Google.

On a more personal note, Mike has participated in 'hangouts' with Olympic champion Usain Bolt, Spice Girl Melanie C, and Radio 1 presenter Reggie Yates discussing topics ranging from astrophysics to Team GB’s success at the Olympics.

Mike, a former primary school teacher, said: “Google+ gives anyone the ability to connect with people who share similar passions and interests at the click of a button.

“I have been on Google+ for a little over a year now and I’ve already connected with over 20,000 people from across the globe.

“There is no reason why businesses and individuals in Warwickshire can’t set up a Google+ page. My experience of Google+ has been fantastic as it allows me to connect with people locally and from across the globe."

Anoek Eckhardt, communications and public affairs manager at Google, said Mike was a great ambassador for Google+.

He added: "His interaction to share knowledge, advice and learn together highlights the collaborative power of Google+.

“We hope others from across Kenilworth and throughout Warwickshire follow his lead to connect with family, friends and like-minded people through Google+.”

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