Google pushes more engineering talent into philanthropy arm

24 Feb 2009

Google has revealed that, at an operational level, it is aligning its philanthropic arm more closely with the company, and is committed to driving 1pc of all equity and profits into the venture. was established in 2004 by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin as an experiment in “active philanthropy”, and since then has attacked global issues by investing in and creating new technology initiatives, which include Flu Trends, RechargeIT, Clean Energy 2030, and PowerMeter.

They committed resources from Google’s profits, equity and substantial employee time to this philanthropic effort, and created the mission: “To use the power of information and technology to address the global challenges of our age.”

According to Dr Larry Brilliant, chief philanthropy evangelist of, a review of the operation has taken place, and Google executive Megan Smith will take over day-to-day management of as general manager, in addition to her existing role at Google as vice-president of new business development.

“One of the first things that Megan will focus on is how can best achieve its mission,” said Brilliant on the official Google blog.

“By aligning more closely with Google as a whole, Megan will ensure that we’re better able to build innovative, scalable technology and information solutions.

“As a first step, Google has decided to put even more engineers and technical talent to work on these issues and problems, resources which I have found to be extraordinary.

“In this global economic crisis, the work is doing, together with our many colleagues around the world, to help develop cheap, clean energy, find and fight disease outbreaks before they sweep the globe, and build information platforms for under-served people globally, is more important than ever.

“We stand behind the commitment made in 2004 to devote 1pc of Google’s equity and profits to philanthropy, and we will continue to iterate on our philanthropic model to make sure our resources have the greatest possible impact for good,” Brilliant said.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: Dr Larry Brilliant with Google’s RechargeIT car

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years