Google gives $40 million to various causes

In its biggest single-day contribution ever, Google on Wednesday announced it has handed out $40 million to battle slavery, promote education and make technology more accessible worldwide, with nearly a fourth of the money going to Bay Area organizations, reports.

“The causes we are supporting are issues we’ve been committed to for a long time, particularly education,” said company spokeswoman Kate Hurowitz, noting that about $9 million is being awarded to a dozen Bay Area groups. “It’s really something the company cares a lot about from the top level.”

Altogether, she said, the search giant has contributed $115 million this year. Part of the $40 million is to promote the teaching of science, technology, engineering and math, and especially to improve the educational levels of girls in developing nations. The rest is designed to empower people through technology and curb slavery or other forms of human trafficking……Read More

Google mulls a blend of education, search

Google is thinking about ways to inject search into the educational process as more than just a quick and dirty cheat sheet for students, CNET reports. One of the most amazing things about internet search is the speed and precision at which it returns answers to specific questions, ideal for students researching subjects for tests or papers. But this also generates criticism that the knowledge gained from services like Google can be a mile wide and an inch deep. Google’s Peter Norvig, director of research, has begun exploring “education search,” or ways to help students “get to where they are going,” he said. Norvig told attendees at the trade show Search Marketing Expo West that he’s trying to understand “how can we support people who are looking for not just an answer in five minutes,” but over a longer period of learning as well. The project is in the very early stages, and Norvig was unwilling to share much more about the thinking behind Google’s plans. In January, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos that he was worried about the “deep reading” ability of younger people who have grown up with the internet. Instant information gratification provided by PCs and mobile devices “probably has an effect on cognition, probably has an effect on reading,” Schmidt said…

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