Google, once just a search engine, has now become an engine of active change in the world. Recently Google has started what it calls the Google Global Impact Awards, designed to honor and support organizations utilizing innovations in technology to increase their impact. Google has given out $23 million to groups who excel in their own way. These organizations address issues from wildlife endangerment to problems in the school system, and each has managed a unique solution to their issue. I have listed all of the recipients and highlighted 3 that I found most interesting. World Wildlife Fund ($5 million) - With the money given by Google, the WWF hopes to bring modern technology to bear on poachers and protect endangered species more effectively. The grant gives enough funds to the WWF to start testing on the use of aerial drones and more advanced tagging and tracking systems, to better monitor the animals and watch for poacher activity. These systems help to ensure the survival of some of the most beautiful and rare animals on our planet.
charity: water ($5 million) : Many organizations exist to help bring clean water wells to remote areas of the world, but the process of monitoring and upkeep of the wells can be costly to the point of near impossibility. charity: water installs wireless transmitters on the wells which gauge water flow, and provide information to keep the wells in working order and usable. The organization utilizes GPS tracking into their process to effectively monitor each well as well as provide transparency for their actions. In fact, pictures of each well are GPS tagged on Google Maps to show each position of each well they monitor.
Consortium for the Barcode of Life ($3 million) : Illegal trade in endangered animals is a big money industry, yet enforcement of these crimes can often be difficult. In order to correctly identify many of the species, it is necessary to consult a professional taxonomist, which is costly, time consuming and in some cases impossible. The Consortium for the Barcode of Life is working to analyze and sequence the DNA of each of these endangered species, and create a barcode to identify the specimen. These barcodes can be used to effectively identify endangered species without the expense of a taxonomist. This innovation will assist local authorities in properly dealing with those who illegally trade endangered species.
DonorsChoose.org ($5 million) : Where Crowdfunding meets needy schools and field trips. Teachers post their needs on the site and donors can choose and donate to provide necessary funding for school projects and trips. Projects reach their goals with a 70% success rate.
Equal Opportunity Schools ($1.8 million) : Programs designed to find talented children and get them to the right education level in their schools. Keeps children engaged and interested in school while providing them better opportunity to learn at higher levels.
Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media ($1.2 million) : Designed to change the way that children are impacted by female role models in children's media by working to create a positive presence of women in shows children watch.
Give Directly ($2.4 million) : Donations made go directly to the cell phones of families in Kenya where the recipient uses the funds to help change the way that their family is able to live.
Each of these organizations is working hard to change our world for the better through better innovation in technology. If you want to learn more about the Impact Awards or any of these organizations you can find it at the Google Global Impact Awards site.