More than $800 million to support businesses, organizations and healthcare workers has been committed by Google, to help the in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and most of that amount will be in the form of free advertising.
A total of $250 million in ad grants — an increased amount compared to the $25 million the company had announced a few weeks ago, will be given by Google as a grant to World Health Organization and global government agencies. The company’s CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post on Friday that the amount will be used for sharing information about how to battle the spread of the virus.
Pichain said that small and medium-sized businesses whose accounts have been active over the past year will be given Google ad credits worth another $340 million. The company has also set aside a separate $20 million for making announcements on relief funds and supporting small businesses.
A number of global tech companies, including Google, have come forward and offered some of their vast financial and technical resources in the global efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. A website and an iOS app that will allow users to screen themselves for coronavirus symptoms was released by Apple on Friday. Days before the iPhone maker had announced the donation of more than 10 million respirator masks across the United States and Europe.
The WHO and other institutions were also offered free ad credits by Facebook, like Google, so that the institutions could provide accurate information to users about coronavirus. However, no ads on Facebook have been put up by the WHO officially so far. The WHO instead is currently teaming up with the largest social media company of the world to make use of the other capabilities of the company such as the Coronavirus Information Center of Facebook and issuing a health alert account on WhatsApp that was launched last week.
Contributions to combat the deadly virus pandemic in the US are also being made by tech firms from other countries. US have reported the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases so far in the world. Pledges of donating around a million masks each to US health workers have been made by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank and Chinese tech giant Alibaba.
A $200 million investment fund to help small businesses get access to capital is also being set up by Facebook in addition to its advertising initiatives. The social media company is also offering $20 million in Google Cloud credits for academics and researchers who are currently engaged in finding a cure or a vaccine for the coronavirus.
Google is also working with one of its suppliers, Magid Glove & Safety, to produce up to 3 million masks in the coming weeks that it will donate to the CDC.
(Adapted from CNN.com)