Google launches YouTube and Google+ project to connect returning vets
November 11th, 2011
09:56 AM ET

Google launches YouTube and Google+ project to connect returning vets

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.

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Filed under: Innovation • Tech
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. check it out

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    July 8, 2012 at 12:00 am | Reply
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    June 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  3. David Chamberlain

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    May 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  4. 10th S

    I served two tours of duty in Iraq, one in Mosul and one in Baghdad. We left our FOB daily to do a job many "Veterans" never did. I was wounded during my second tour and awarded the Purple Heart, but forced to be permanently retired. After this I decided to finish my degree, well last year thanks to NObama we no longer receive a full months pay during a school break (Christmas Break)! I can't just go out and get a job for a month to cover what this idiot did, I also have a wife and two children, and due to my disability I have to go back to school to get a job, because there's only a certain few that I can do. So don't praise NObama he hasn't helped the vets! He attempted to pass a bill which would force ALL former military/VA to pay for their healthcare...research that then applaud an imbecile who says water boarding is torture, but killing someone with a drone is justified!

    November 14, 2011 at 10:16 am | Reply
  5. jamie hiott

    Thank you to Google for getting the Veteran's site together. Just want to say WE APPRECIATE all that our military has done for us!

    November 14, 2011 at 1:07 am | Reply
    • Hadrien

      Cherokee hgertaie, is developing a resource guide for tribal governments to incorporate aspects of Veteran Treatment Courts in their justice systems. She will visit Navajo Nation, Hopi, and Laguna Pueblo

      February 22, 2012 at 3:04 am | Reply
  6. The PCGURU

    To the contrary. After a year in country, I was a Vietnam Vet the day I flew out of Vietnam.

    November 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  7. ltnet

    I am very glad to see Google take this step. Please remember the thousands of us who saw combat during the cold war. And yes there was combat then.

    November 13, 2011 at 11:18 am | Reply
  8. BK

    yesterday, another site launched called ArmedZilla, a new social network for military, active and veterans and their families. check it out.

    November 12, 2011 at 10:38 am | Reply
  9. mike

    Your not a veteran until you get out of the military

    November 12, 2011 at 8:54 am | Reply
  10. government cheese

    Google just released photos of Iran's nuclear sites and now they are reuniting soldiers. Google does more government work than Obama.

    November 12, 2011 at 1:57 am | Reply
    • Steven James Beto

      The Obama slam is unfair. I served as a medic in Vietnam; Decorated. Due to PTSD and other reasons, I dropped out of college and into the bottle. Thirty-eight years later, due to a program initiated by President Obama, I was able to finish my degree a the University of Minnesota, and an AAS degree at Dakota County Technical College. After 42.5 months of unemployment, suffering bankruptcy and separation from my family, I now have a good job. At 60 years old, when corporations refused to help, President Obama saw hope, and I am of service to others again. So please, have a little respect.

      November 12, 2011 at 9:15 am | Reply
      • Brando

        I couldn't agree with you more. I'm so tired of people blasting Obama, and it seems to come from people who have never served, especially during war. I am currently deployed in Afghanistan. It's stressful over here. I've seen a lot of stuff in the months I've been at war. And to have people, organizations, and yes, even politicans, trying to help us vets out when we come's just one less stressor I have to deal with. In turn, this makes life in a war zone just a tad better.
        By the way...hello from one Dakota Co, MN resident to another.

        November 12, 2011 at 9:48 am |
  11. diag

    Breaking: Layoff notices are being handed out across CNN/U.S. today. Photographers, editors and other staffers in Atlanta, New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles and Miami are being let go. In all, at least 50 positions are being eliminated. As many as 12 staffers in the Washington, DC bureau alone, four of whom are longtime photojournalists.

    CNN Senior VP Jack Womack writes in a note to staff that the cuts come after a 3-year analysis of the company’s work processes.

    November 11, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Reply
  12. Daniel McGuigan

    I would like to arrange a meeting with the project management.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  13. Will

    I am PROUD to be an AMERICAN, where at least I know i'm free. I am also PROUD of the fact that so many of you who throw judgement on these people, have the freedom to do so. My injuries in Afghanistan that ended my career, my friends who died, so you cowards can badmouth them in their grave, every AMERICAN service member past and present in one fashion or another paid in blood, tears, in the nightmares and depression, for your ability to show the world your lack of honor without fear of reprisal from any tyrant.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Reply
    • Kay

      Don't call other people cowards because you don't like the things they say because it diminishes *you*...not them.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Reply
      • Doug W

        They are indeed cowards who diminish our wounded veterans.

        November 11, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
      • Wiiga

        The srtaecrey took the rangers black beret away and gave it to the whole regular Army because he never earned oned and wanted to wear it. thats is what kind of man he is.

        February 22, 2012 at 2:20 am |
    • texasgrace

      I couldn't agree with you more. Thank you for your service. I think what Google is doing is a great start. Please do not think about what others are saying to you about what you have gone through. They have NO idea. Talk to your family, talk to your pastor/church members. They could be a wealth of information and support. If you are married/not lean on family for support and comfort – focus on them. If that is not possible there is a good friend out there that is waiting for you to ask for help. Find that person.

      November 12, 2011 at 8:59 am | Reply
    • Steven James Beto

      On Monday, October 5th, 1970, my father drove me down to the Minneapolis Federal Building where I was to be inducted into the military. We arrived at 7:30 a.m. to face an angry crowd of long-hairs waiving hate placards and calling the inductees baby killers. Someone had blown up the northeast corner of the Federal Building earlier that morning; something like the Oklahoma City deal a few years ago. Granite and bricks were strewn out into the road, the area was cordoned off with yellow tape, and suits were mingled in a crowd of blue jeans.

      My father escorted me up the stairs to the entryway like a bride being delivered to the altar. A hippie touched my arm and said, "You don't have to go. Come with me, I will take you to Canada." My father, a WWII Marine whose last duty assignment had been Iwo Jima, pushed the lad back and stood defiantly, but silently between us.

      I believe that we are all trying to do the best we can with the information that we have; some of us take it too far one way or the other. Take the center road, folks. Take the hits silently, but do what honor dictates. Violence does not honor the fallen.

      November 12, 2011 at 9:38 am | Reply
  14. shachar

    Who cares about veterans that didn't serve in a legally recognized war? No one. Cold War Veterans are unrecognized species. Thousands of peacetime warriors, silently filled their post, protected their homeland and no cares about what these vets have to say.

    November 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • WilliamDrake

      It's always interesting to learn that so many of those who bash the military never served their country. . .in any capacity whatsoever. I should add that I did serve in the military during the war in Vietnam. Does that pass your "legally recognized war" test? Your comment indicates you have little, if any, understanding, of veterans who served at all, whether in a "legally recognized" war or not. You just don't get it, do you, shacar? BTW: tell me what you did to serve your country, military or not. From your comments, you were never in the military and you're strangely and aggressively attacking men and women who did serve their country – why? Tell me and the rest of the people reading these comments – many of us would like to understand the logic for your attack. I'm not attacking you – I never met you. So, why the animus toward certain military men and women but not others or are your attacks generally generic? I look forward to any reasoned, factual response.

      November 11, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Reply
      • Kay

        Are you sure he was running down the military? I read his post several times and couldn't decide if he was doing that...or if he was expressing frustration that no one cares about Cold War veterans, of which he might very well have been one.

        November 11, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
      • leslie20

        It sounds to me like he is lamenting the lack of recognition for vets who served in wars that were not legally recognized.

        November 12, 2011 at 2:22 am |
      • Phil Lerup

        1) Remove chip from shoulder
        2) Re-read original post

        November 12, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  15. GeorgeGray

    Happy Veteran's Day from Honolulu! Recently, as part of the APEC conference, the United States government has built here a blackout cyclone fence designed to separate from the public motor vehicles traveling on certain roads (Ala Moana, Saratoga). On one side of the fence you might find President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, wealthy businessmen seeking further access to foreign markets, and "dignitaries" from other countries. On the other side of the fence you might find yourself, me, the folks, and many of our distinguished veterans. The fence is high, and striking to see in this normally welcoming world resort. The blackout in the cyclone fence looks like it was manufactured in secret somewhere in Nevada. I don't know why this fence reminds me of the divisive politics of the past. But, now that the United States government has chosen to take sides, with itself and its guests on one side, and you, me, the folks, and our distinguished veterans on the other, I'm glad, especially on Veteran's Day, to find myself on the side with our veterans.

    November 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • ipisking

      Thanks George for being our 1st Troll of the day..

      November 11, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Reply
      • Kay

        Wow. I thought he was simply making a thoughtful commentary about the world we currently live in, whether or not I agree with it.

        November 11, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
      • Kory

        An answer from an expert! Thanks for conrtbiuitng.

        January 14, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
      • vidqcfqrb

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        January 15, 2012 at 4:15 am |
      • gnyogwzbly

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        January 17, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  16. Chix

    For those that served and those that continue to protect our nation – How can we thank them?
    Operation Miles is helping active Troops get back to their families by gifting them airline miles. Join in a quest to reunite and rebuild families across America by sharing this link on your wall today. Salute our troops and honor our Vets this Veterans Day!

    November 11, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  17. John Schatt

    Correction s u r p R i s e d.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Reply
  18. John Schatt

    I am surpised that there are ANY veterans working at Google.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Reply
    • Kay


      November 11, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Reply

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