The philanthropic arm of Google said it is giving US$25 million in grants and investments to companies and organisations committed to fighting environmental, energy, poverty and health issues.
Google.org said it will give US$5 million to InSTEDD (Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters) to strengthen early warning systems, preparedness and response systems for humanitarian crises and threats to health around the world. InSTEDD will work with other organisations around the world to develop software and other tools to address problems with information flow.
Another US$2.5 million will go to the Global Health and Security Initiative, which was established by the Nuclear Threat Initiative to prevent, detect and respond to biological threats.
Clark University in Worcester, Mass., will receive US$600,000 from Google.org, as well as US$600,000 from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, for Clark Labs to develop a system to better monitor, analyse and predict the effects of climate change on ecosystems, food and health in Africa and the Amazon.
Google.org will grant US$2 million to Pratham, a non-governmental organisation in India, to create an independent institute that will conduct the Nationwide Annual Status of Education Report and other assessments of education in the country.
The Centre for Budget and Policy Studies, a Bangalore, India-based analysis group, will receive US$765,000 to create a budget information service that local governments can use to better address district- and municipal-level planning in India.
The Centre for Policy Research, a think tank in India, will receive US$660,000 to study ways to better deliver city services.
Google.org awarded a US$4.7 million grant to TechnoServe, a group that helps entrepreneurs in poor rural areas around the world build businesses. The grant will be used to provide general support to companies, help create jobs and fund work on global antipoverty programmes. It also will be used to develop and implement a business-plan competition to support entrepreneurs in Ghana and Tanzania.
ESolar, a Pasadena, Calif.-based company specialising in solar power, will receive US$10 million to produce power that will be cheaper than electricity produced from coal. This is part of Google's renewable energy plan, which was announced in November.
Google.org also said it will invest from US$500,000 to US$2 million in for-profit companies that will develop commercially viable plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
The efforts are part of the goals of company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to "make Google an institution that makes the world a better place," according to a statement.
"The work of Google.org will help us do that by applying Google's strengths in organising information and scaling technology to these complex issues," said Sheryl Sandberg, vice president of global online sales and operations, and a Google.org board member, in the statement.