By John D. Sutter, CNN
In 2010, Dan Savage launched the "It Gets Better Project" to connect gay teens with video messages of support from older gay people. The site now has thousands of video messages and has been credited with saving the lives of LGBT youth who were pondering suicide.
Now Google is launching a similar project for veterans. Called "Vet Connect," the YouTube and Google+ project is a collection of support videos from veterans who speak about their experiences of returning home from war.
The goal, according to a Google spokeswoman, is to have a database of stories for vets to turn to when they come back home from Iraq and Afghanistan. By browsing the videos and G+ profiles, vets may not feel so alone.
Here's how Carrie Laureno, founder of the project, explained it in a post Friday morning on Google's official blog:
We believe that technology can be a force for good; one that builds and binds community. As a Googler, my proudest moments are when we take that technology and put it in the hands of people who can use it to communicate, collaborate, build and explore.
A website called Google for Veterans and Families is the hub for this project. More on that from Google's blog:
This single interface brings together Google products and platforms for service members and their families. We believe it will be useful to all veterans, whether still in the service, transitioning out, or on a new path in their civilian lives.
To post a video tribute to veterans, or to share your story of returning home from war, visit the Google Veterans YouTube channel.
Mike Reeves, a 29-year-old financial analyst at Google who participated in the project, said it was strangely easier to tell the story of his return to the U.S. from Iraq on YouTube than it would be to talk about that with his family. "It’s very interesting but when you’re trying to help your fellow veterans it’s a little different than talking to loved ones," he sad in an interview on Friday.
The online videos from other vets would have been helpful when he returned from service, he said.
"I didn’t know how to navigate school - didn’t have an education yet. I was just lost," he said. "And I had no one to share this with. And I didn’t feel comfortable sharing it with my family. But with this tool, you can meet other vets and hear their stories… and really have that support group."
Here's a look at a few of the more-compelling videos that have been posted on the site. So far, many of them are from vets who work at Google.