Google.org, founded in October 2005, is the charitable arm of Google, a multinational technology company. The organization has committed roughly US$100 million in investments and grants to nonprofits annually.
The organization is noted for several significant grants to nonprofits using technology and data in innovative ways to support racial justice, educational opportunity, crisis response after health epidemics and natural disasters, and issues affecting the San Francisco Bay Area community where it is headquartered. It also hosts regular challenges around the world to stimulate innovative uses of technologies to address local challenges.
The mission and approach of Google.org has seen multiple iterations over the years, an approach that mirrors other divisions within Google in its effort to reallocate resources towards the most significant and effective methods. The organization's general strategy involves funding the use of technology, data, and user-centered design to make a better world, faster.
Google.org is considered a part of Google, as opposed to an Alphabet organization, under the formation of the Alphabet parent company in 2016. To fund the organization, Google granted three million shares during their initial public offering (IPO). In 2014, the corporation stated on its website that it donates $100,000,000 in grants, 200,000 hours, and $1 billion in products each year.
As of 2016, Google has focused a majority of its efforts on a few key topics, based upon a premise of equality and opportunity.
Google.org and Google in general has also been supportive of a number of causes, including LGBTQ rights, veterans affairs, digital literacy, and refugee rights.
Previous incarnations of Google.org took different approaches, usually focused on technology applied to social sphere, in keeping with the company's brand around technology and innovation.
Among its first projects was a mass-produced plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that can attain 100 mpg (miles per gallon) (see vehicle-to-grid).
In November 2007, Google.org announced RE<C (Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal), a project that will invest several hundred million dollars in order to produce renewable energy at a profit from wind and solar sources, particularly solar thermal energy. RE<C has the ultimate goal of creating more than a gigawatt of power (enough to power a city the size of San Francisco) from renewable sources that would be cheaper than energy produced from coal.
The director from 2006 until 2009 was Dr. Larry Brilliant. Upon stepping down, Brilliant was replaced by Megan Smith, Google's Vice-President of new business development, and the organization began focusing on creating engineering solutions to global problems with projects such as Google Flu Trends and Crisis Response, an effort to respond to natural disasters. Megan Smith later left to join the office of the CTO under the Obama administration, at which point Google.org began focusing exclusively on its charitable giving initiatives under the stewardship of Jacquelline Fuller, who currently runs the organization.
In 2010, Google gave over $145 million to non-profits and academic institutions. In the same year, Google was named the Bay Area's top corporate philanthropist by the San Francisco Business Times for giving $27.6 million to Bay Area charities. The company has won the same award for a number of years since, including as recently as 2016 Charitable funds come from Google.org, the Google Foundation and the company itself.
A new project started in June 2014 is Made with Code, uses coding programs to allow girls to become interested in the idea of coding and develop more female programmers over time.
Google.org's major projects in 2012 included:
Pre-2012 Google.org projects included:
Main article: Google Energy
In 2008, Google.org joined a number of renewable energy initiatives, including:
Google.org began moving away from renewable energy initiatives between 2010–2013, as Google opted to bring its renewable energy work into formal product areas under the leadership of Larry Alder and Craig Barratt. A retrospective on learnings from this effort was published in IEEE Spectrum as What it Would Really Take to Reverse Climate Change.
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