Google has unveiled its good deeds list for the next five to ten years supporting environmental projects through to disease prevention initiatives in third world countries.
Google.org, which is the philanthropic arm of the internet giant, has announced more than $25 million in new grants and investments.
The organisation has identified "hot spots" or areas in the world that need a rapid response, and says it is to concentrate on Southeast Asia and tropical Africa.
In Southeast Asia, which is already a hot spot for SARS and potentially bird flu, Google.org is working with partners to strengthen early warning systems and build local capacities to prevent the next pandemic.
As part of this, the company is donating $5 million to InSTEDD (Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters) "to improve early detection, preparedness, and response capabilities for global health threats and humanitarian crises".
$2.5 million is being donated to the Global Health and Security Initiative (GHSI), which was established by the Nuclear Threat Initiative to prevent, detect, and respond to biological threats.
Google.org says its support will help GHSI to strengthen national and sub-regional disease surveillance systems through workforce training and better laboratory capacity in the Mekong Basin area (taking in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and the Yunnan province of China).
More than $600,000 is being given to Clark University for its labs to develop a system to improve monitoring, analysis and prediction of the impacts of climate variability and change on ecosystems, food and health in Africa and the Amazon.
The organisation is also to pump funds into improving basic public services for the poor in India and East Africa.
$2 million is being given to Pratham, a non-governmental organization in India, to create an independent institute that will conduct the Nationwide Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) as well as large scale assessments in the education sector.
The Centre for Budget and Policy Studies in Bangalore won $765,000 to create a Budget Information Service for local governments to facilitate better district- and municipal-level level planning in India.
Indian think tank, the Center for Policy Research has been awarded $660,000 "to increase the debate and discourse on issues of urban local governance and urban service delivery".
Smaller donations are also to be given to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, headed up this time by TechnoServe, which is hoping to support entrepreneurs in Ghana and Tanzania.
For the environment, Google has set a new initiative called RE
This initiative was launched in November 2007 and will focus initially on advanced solar thermal power, wind power technologies, and enhanced geothermal systems.
Google is also donating $10 million to eSolar, a Californian company specialising in solar thermal power.
In addition, Google has unveiled a project to accelerate the commercialisation of Plug-In Vehicles called RechargeIT.
This aims to reduce CO2 emissions and cut oil use by accelerating the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid technology.
The resources for the funding come from a commitment by Google's founders to devote approximately 1% of the company's equity plus 1% of annual profits to philanthropy, as well as employee time.
Dr. Larry Brilliant, executive director of Google.org explained: "These five initiatives are our attempt to address some of the hard problems we as a world need to face in the coming decade.
"We have chosen them both because we think solving them will make a better, fairer, safer world for our children and grandchildren – and the children and grandchildren of people all over the world – but also because we feel that these core initiatives fit well with Google's core strengths, especially its innovative technologies and its talented engineers and other Googlers, who are really our most valuable assets."