MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF / CNN) — Google is committing to donate more than $800 million to support businesses, organizations and healthcare workers as part of its coronavirus response — most of it in the form of free advertising.
The tech company headquartered in Mountain View said it will give the World Health Organization and global government agencies a total of $250 million in ad grants — up from the $25 million it announced a few weeks ago — to share information on how to battle the spread of the virus, CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post on Friday.
Another $340 million in Google ad credits will be available to small and medium–sized businesses whose accounts have been active over the past year, Pichai said, with an additional $20 million earmarked for announcements on relief funds and support for small businesses.
Google is one of several tech companies putting some of their vast financial and technical resources toward trying to combat the global pandemic. Apple on Friday released a website and an iOS app that allows users to screen themselves for coronavirus symptoms, days after announcing that it would donate more than 10 million respirator masks across the US and Europe.
Facebook, like Google, has offered free ad credits to the WHO and other institutions to provide accurate information about the coronavirus, but the WHO has not officially placed any ads on Facebook yet. The organization is working with Facebook in other capacities, including the company’s Coronavirus Information Center and a health alert account on WhatsApp launched last week.
Tech firms from other countries are also pitching in to combat the virus in the US, where the number of confirmed cases is now the highest in the world. Japanese conglomerate SoftBank and Chinese tech giant Alibaba have pledged to donate around a million masks each to US health workers.
Beyond its advertising initiatives, Google is setting up a $200 million investment fund to help small businesses get access to capital as well as offering $20 million in Google Cloud credits for academics and researchers working on combating 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.
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