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by Mike Zazaian September 17, 2006 - 3:15pm, 21 Comments

Google Founders Larry Page(left) and Sergey Brin(right)

Google plans to solve the problems of the world with its new Google.org, a billion-dollar for-profit philanthropy.

Google took a big stride for its Don’t be evil mission statement today as Founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page established Google.org, a for-profit charity aimed to fight Poverty, disease, and global warming. Already fueled with a billion of Google’s US dollars, Google.org will perform all the functions of a traditional for-profit business, but will be directed entirely by philanthropic intentions

Google.org’s current effort has them car manufacturers and hybrid engine scientists to produce a car that achieves a gas mileage of 100 miles per gallon . Project managers have already acquired a number of test vehicles in which to implement new technologies that would combine gasoline, ethanol and electrical power to hit the 100 MPG milestone.

Criticism are already pouring in, however, about the for-profit structure of Google’s new charity. As a for-profit venture, Google will have to pay taxes on any profit accrued by the organization, including any stock sales that Google might use to finance the project. Any other companies or corporate efforts started under the umbrella of Google.org will also follow such taxation guidelines. Among the skeptics is Marcus Owens, a Washington D.C. Tax attorney, who had this to say about Google.org.

Those Google guys are young kids. It’s a big world out there. Certainly the goals they’ve set out are laudable ones, but there are bound to be bumps along the way.

Other criticisms have drawn comparison between Google.org’s one billion dollar seed and and that of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which began with close to twenty billion dollars in pocket. Google.org was started only 8 years into the existence of the company, however, as the Gates’ charity took 25 years into Microsoft’s maturity to materialize.

But despite initial criticisms, Brin and Page have high hopes for their new philanthropy:

We hope that someday this institution will eclipse Google itself in overall world impact by ambitiously applying innovation and significant resources to the largest of the world’s problems.

To reach that end they appointed as director of Google.org Dr. Larry Brilliant, a 61-year-old physician, public health expert, silicon valley entrepreneur and student of Hindu. Brilliant, like Brin and Page, believes that the company’s for-profit status will give Google.org substantial flexibility compared to traditional charities:

It can start companies, build industries, pay consultants, lobby, give money to individuals and make a profit. But if they didn’t, we wouldn’t care. We’re not doing it for the profit. And if we didn’t get our capital back, so what? The emphasis is on social returns, not economic returns.

[via TechNewsWorld]