Google pledges $800 million to coronavirus relief, mostly in free ads


Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is pledging more than $800 million to coronavirus relief.

James Martin/CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Google on Friday said it’s committing more than $800 million to help small businesses and crisis responders dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. The aid will come in cash and advertising credits for the search giant’s platforms. 

“As the coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen around the world, it’s taking a devastating toll on lives and communities,” CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post. “To help address some of these challenges, today we’re announcing a new $800+ million commitment to support small- and medium-sized businesses, health organizations and governments, and health workers on the frontline of this global pandemic.” 

The biggest chunk of the package will be in the form of $340 million in ad credits for small- and medium-sized businesses. The credits will go to accounts that have been active over the last year, and will be usable until the end of the year. Another $250 million will go to ad grants for the World Health Organization and other agencies trying to keep people informed about the pandemic. The company is also setting up a $200 million investment fund to help NGOs and financial institutions to provide small businesses with capital. Another $20 million will go to Google Cloud credits for academics and researchers. 

Google also said it’s working with one of its supply chain partners to ramp up production of 2 to 3 million face masks for the CDC Foundation, which supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s critical health protection work.

The news comes as Google and other tech companies try to aid in the response to COVID-19, the respiratory illness that’s killing people across the world. Earlier this month, Verily, the life sciences arm of Google parent Alphabet, launched a coronavirus screening website for California residents.

Apple earlier Friday launched its own COVID-19 website and app with a screening tool and other information about the coronavirus, in partnership with the CDC, the White House coronavirus task force and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

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