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Google.org Focuses On Green Energy With Recharge It & REC

google org.gifGoogle has come a long way since its nascent days as a speedy search engine. Its employment of only the best and brightest has led to the successful development of programs like Gmail and Google Earth. They just think of everything, combining the best features of the programs in competition, without the glitches. Just when you thought Google couldn’t think of anything else, the Internet empire has launched Google.org, a philanthropic site devoted to using “the power of information and technology to address the global challenges of our age: climate change, poverty and emerging disease.”

Perhaps the Internet is far more powerful than anyone could have predicted. Google’s nifty applications that make research and communication faster than the 0.23 seconds it takes us to reach for our mug of quadruple espresso skim latte have revolutionized our daily tasks. If the Internet can change everyone’s life to be more energy efficient, why can’t it change the world?

Google.org is responding to the global crises that, in the past few years, have brought the industrialized world to start to realize the implications of its actions. Among the most pressing global issues facing Americans is climate change, and talk of the earth’s impending doom is stoked by exorbitant fuel prices, meteorological phenomena and insufficient environmental policy. To address this, Google.org has developed two programs, “Develop Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE and “Recharge It”.

Recharge It looks like a science fair project with real potential. What they’re recharging are cars. Yes, the future of automotives means plugging your car into an electricity outlet and nearly eliminating the need for gas and oil, and hence, reducing CO2 emissions. The plug-in car endorsed by the Recharge It team has already been tested and proven, and according to the team the car, which charges over night for in-town driving, but has  gasoline back-up for longer trips, is ready to hit the road. The only obstacle facing Recharge It is the current lack of electricity able to power up these projects on a country-wide scale. But of course, Google has thought about that.

RE

Google.org seems to recognize that the global endemic crises are not isolated, but intertwined with one another. And so, while they focus on developing clean energy in America, the rest of their projects primarily involve investing in the developing world. “Predict and Prevent”,  “Inform and Empower to Improve Public Services” and “Fuel the Growth of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises” focus on the dismal health, educational, and economic situations in the developing world, particularly in Southeast Asia.

Google has $85 billion in investments: $20 million of that is going toward research and development of alternative clean energies in the United States, while the majority of funds are being dispersed to research and policy centers, non-governmental organizations, and institutes that are invested in the developing world. In addition, nearly $4 million is being invested in the disaster recovery efforts in China, Burma, and New Orleans.

The scope of Google.org’s project is massive and even mind-boggling to those of us who are trying to comprehend the enormity of the world’s problems – let alone solve them. Where the government has failed and charities have fallen short, Google’s monstrous budget steps in. But while money may be the main factor in achieving some semblance of hope for the planet’s future, what Google really cares about is information: “Better information can help governments and other providers spend scarce resources wisely. And, empowered by information, citizens and communities can demand better services from providers or develop new solutions to meet their own needs”. The information superhighway that Google revolutionized is now being brought to the underserved clinic, the under-resourced school, back to the governments that will be demanded to change, and practically to the moon. Better yet, to the sun.

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