Google promises $800M in coronavirus aid to small businesses, other groups

CEO Sundar Pichai promises grants, ad credits, academic computing in virus fight

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Google is pledging more than $800 million to help with the worldwide response to the coronavirus pandemic, including free advertising credits for small businesses, CEO Sundar Pichai announced Friday.

“As the coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen around the world, it’s taking a devastating toll on lives and communities,” Pichai wrote in a blog post announcing the financial commitment.

Google committed to providing $250 million in ad grants to help the World Health Organization and more than 100 world government agencies to provide information about preventing the virus’s spread on top of $25 million the company announced last month and $20 million in ad grants for nongovernment organizations and community financial institutions to run public service announcements.

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The company also promised a $200 million investment fund to support those NGOs and financial institutions providing small businesses with capital.

“As one example, we’re working with the Opportunity Finance Network in the U.S. to help fill gaps in financing for people and communities underserved by mainstream financial institutions,” Pichai wrote.

For small- and medium-sized businesses with active Google Ads accounts over the past year, the company pledged to provide a total of $340 million in credits usable at any point this year.

“We hope it will help to alleviate some of the cost of staying in touch with their customers,” Pichai wrote.

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In this file photo, Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a news conference. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal, File)

Google also said it was providing a $20 million pool in Google Cloud credits for academic institutions and researchers studying potential vaccines and track critical data in order to combat the virus.

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The company also offered financial support to Magid Glove & Safety to ramp up production of face masks to provide to the CDC Foundation.

“Together, we’ll continue to help our communities — including our businesses, educators, researchers and nonprofits — to navigate the challenges ahead,” Pichai wrote.

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