It is heartening to see Google finally living up to their “Don’t Be Evil” motto, after a rather long spell of following their alternative motto, “Don’t be evil to shareholders”. The search giant is apparently interested in more than just disseminating information to the affluent and educated sections of society, and making a name and money for itself.
Google Inc. has set up a foundation, Google.org, that will work towards various philanthropic objectives. In order to do this Google will not only make use of its greatest strength – access to information – but has also committed to set aside 1% of its equity and annual profits, in addition to manpower and expertise , to achieve these targets.
1 percent equity equals 1/100 of its initial public offering of 3 million shares. This amount will be invested and later donated to various causes over the next 20 years. The value of this equity could of course go up or down, as per the value of the dollar and swings in the stock markets.
1 percent of Google’s profit may not sound like much but would actually amount to millions of dollars each year.
Google.org will work in several under-developed countries in Africa and South-East Asia, in conjunction with other non-governmental organizations such as Pratham (in India), to help spread basic amenities like clean drinking water, awareness and education and provide medical assistance especially in cases of pandemics or natural disasters.
Their 5 main initiatives as of now are:
- Develop renewable energy that is cheaper than coal (RE
- Accelerate the commercialization of plug-in vehicles (RechargeIT)
- Predict and prevent emerging threats, such as infectious disease and climate risk
- Inform and empower to improve public services
- Fuel the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Google believes that it is more important to focus on the result achieved rather than just keep track of money spent. They will also help provide accountability and transparency to the various actions and schemes initiated by governments. This is indeed a noble venture and must be encouraged and applauded.