Google sets up charitable arm

Having become the fastest billionaires in the history of IT, the founders of Google are now setting up a charitable arm of the search engine. The newly created Google.org will be an umbrella organisation for the Google Foundation, some of Google’s own charitable projects, as well as partnerships and contributions to for-profit and non-profit organisations.

On the website, founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have set high goals for the project. They state that ‘We hope that someday this institution will eclipse Google itself in overall world impact by ambitiously applying innovation and significant resources to the largest of the world’s problems.’

Putting their money where their blogs are, Brin and Page say they are committing one per cent of Google’s stock and profits – almost $1bn (£573m) to Google.org.

Among the early beneficiaries of Google.org is the Acumen Fund, which seeks to provide affordable goods and services for the four billion people in the world who live on less than $4 a day, TechnoServe which assists budding entrepreneurs in Ghana, and funding of research in western Kenya to help find ways to prevent child deaths caused by poor water quality.

Only the cynical would suggest that the timing of the announcement comes at a time when Google is no longer seen as the good guy in the battle with the black hats at Microsoft and elsewhere. Whether the founders are sticking to their original motto of ‘don’t be evil’, the establishment of Google.org will help to deflect some of the criticism and jealousy in Silicon Valley and elsewhere that the search engine is as bent on world domination as their rivals up in Redmond.

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