Google commits $800 million to support SMBs, health workers

New Delhi: Google Vice President (Government Affairs and Public Policy) Karan Bhatia and Union Electronics and IT, Communications and Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at the signing of a Statement of Intent between the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and Google for roll out of “Build for Digital India” in New Delhi on Aug 31, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

San Francisco, March 28 (IANS) In biggest donation yet from any global tech giant, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced the company will provide over $800 million to support small and medium businesses (SMBs), health organisations, governments and health workers on the frontline of global COVID-19 pandemic.

The commitment would include $250 million in ad grants to help the World Health Organisation (WHO) and more than 100 government agencies globally provide critical information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other measures to help local communities.

“This is an increase from our initial $25 million announced last month. In addition, we’re providing $20 million in ad grants to community financial institutions and NGOs specifically to run public service announcements on relief funds and other resources for SMBs,” Pichai said in a statement on Friday.

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen around the world, it’s taking a devastating toll on lives and communities.

Google committed a $200 million investment fund that will support NGOs and financial institutions around the world to help provide small businesses with access to capital.

“As one example, we’re working with the Opportunity Finance Network in the US to help fill gaps in financing for people and communities underserved by mainstream financial institutions,” said Pichai.

This is in addition to the $15 million in cash grants Google.org is already providing to nonprofits to help bridge these gaps for SMBs.

The company will give “$340 million in Google Ads credits available to all SMBs with active accounts over the past year”.

“Credit notifications will appear in their Google Ads accounts and can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across our advertising platforms,” Pichai announced, adding that it will help to alleviate some of the cost of staying in touch with their customers.

The overall commitment would also include a pool of $20 million in Google Cloud credits for academic institutions and researchers to “leverage our computing capabilities and infrastructure as they study potential therapies and vaccines, track critical data, and identify new ways to combat COVID-19”.

Google is working with supplier and partner Magid Glove & Safety, with the goal of ramping up production of 2-3 million face masks in the coming weeks that will be provided to the CDC Foundation.

“Additionally, employees from across Alphabet, including Google, Verily and X, are bringing engineering, supply chain and healthcare expertise to facilitate increased production of ventilators, working with equipment manufacturers, distributors and the government in this effort,” informed Pichai.

In addition to these commitments, Google also increased the gift match it offers every employee annually to $10,000 from $7,500.

“That means our employees can now give $20,000 to organizations in their communities, in addition to the $50 million Google.org has already donated,” said Pichai.

Apple has released a website and an iOS app that allows users to screen themselves for coronavirus symptoms, days after announcing that it would donate more than 10 million respirator masks across the US and Europe.

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