(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)
What do tracking flu, helping consumers monitor their home electricity use, slowing deforestation and, perhaps most importantly in 2010, helping the people of Haiti have in common?
While they are all part of the wide-ranging work of Google.org over the last year, they also show what our technical teams can accomplish in critical areas that don't always get the attention they need and deserve.
A year ago we outlined our goals for the next chapter for Google.org. We talked about our vision to use strengths of Google in information and technology to build products and advocate for critical policies that address global challenges. Ideas for projects continue to pour in from Googlers and partners around the globe, and we're incubating several new projects in the areas of economic development, clean energy and access to technology.
This past year, we:
- Ramped up Google PowerMeter to help consumers reduce their electricity use and save money, secured utility and device partners, and launched the API on code.google.com to help expand partner access globally.
- Introduced Earth Engine, a new computational platform we have begun building for global-scale analysis of satellite imagery to monitor changes in key environmental indicators like forest coverage, at COP15 in December.
- Quickly expanded Google Flu Trends to 20 countries and 38 languages as the H1N1 flu virus spread around the world. We also added city-level flu estimates to 121 U.S. cities and developed the Flu Shot Finder to help people find vaccine locations.
- Responded to earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, with maps, updated earth imagery, and networking projects, and built Person Finder to help people find information about their loved ones after a disaster.
- Advocated for policies to spur innovation of renewable energy technologies that are cheaper than coal (RE<C), and our engineers worked on ways to reduce the cost of solar thermal and other RE<C technologies.
Overall, our philanthropic mission at Google includes our Google.org projects and a range of other initiatives - from grants, scholarships and other charitable giving programs to in-kind product support for non-profits. Our founders have set a goal of devoting approximately 1% of Google's equity and yearly profits to philanthropy. In 2009, we devoted around $100 million plus in-kind giving to a broad range of philanthropic efforts. Here are some highlights:
- Academic scholarships and awards: We provide scholarships to encourage students of various backgrounds, ethnicities and gender to excel in their studies in hopes that these and other programs will help dismantle barriers that keep women and minorities from entering computing and technology fields.
- Academic grants: We support the next generation of engineers and maintain strong ties with academic institutions worldwide that are pursuing research in core areas relevant to our mission. We fund projects across a variety of subjects, host visiting faculty members at Google, and have launched the Google Fellowship Program to fund graduate students doing innovative research in several fields.
- Holiday charitable gift: We made $22 million in donations in 2009 to a couple of dozen deserving charities around the world to help organizations that have been stretched thin by more requests for help in a year of fewer donations.
- Employee gift matching: Google matches up to $6,000 for each employee's annual charitable contributions and contributes $50 for every five hours an employee volunteers through our "Dollars for Doers" program to encourage employee participation in charitable causes.
- Charitable Giving Council: We support grants for Googler-led partnerships on causes such as K-12 educational initiatives in science, math and technology.
- Community affairs: We invest in communities where Google has a presence around the world, creating opportunities for Googlers to invest time and expertise, engage in local grant making and build partnerships with local stakeholders.
To keep up with our activities, check out the Google.org blog.
Posted by Megan Smith, VP and General Manager, Google.org Permalink | Links to this post |