On the eve of India's Independence Day, Google is launching a $2 million worth challenge in India for non-profit organisations to share ideas on how they would use technology innovatively to improve the lives of people.
"We're celebrating the spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship of the world's largest democracy by spotlighting the best local nonprofits that are using technology to make the world better," Senior VP and Chief Business Officer at Google, Nikesh Arora, said in a blog post.
At the end of the challenge, four nonprofits will each receive a ₹3 crore (around $500,000) Global Impact Award and technical assistance from Google to bring their projects to life.
The 'Google Impact Challenge in India' has invited registered Indian social entrepreneurs to share how they would use technology to enhance people's lives. They can apply online until 5 September.
Google users from all over the world will review and vote for the top 10 projects by 21 October. They can cast a vote for a 'Fan Favourite' tech project by a social entrepreneur.
"On October 31, I'll join Ram Shriram, Jacquelline Fuller, Anu Aga and Jayant Sinha in Delhi to hear the 10 finalists pitch live. As judges, we'll select three awardees based on their potential impact, scalability and ingenuity. We'll also announce the winner of the Fan Favorite, according to your vote," Arora said.
This is not the first time Google is extending a philanthropic hand towards NGOs. The charitable arm of the Cali-based company, Google.org, has pledged to share one percent of their annual profits with NGOs.
In 2010, Google gave more than $145 million to non-profit and academic institutions.
At times, Google expects their projects may fail. "That's normal. We should expect that some of them will fail or will only have smaller impact. If you're not failing some of the time, you're not taking risks. As we progress, some of our failures will hopefully teach us as much as some of our successes," Senior Vice President (Operations) Urs Hölzle had said in a blog post in 2011.
Google has faced criticism for technology initiatives like the 'Google Impact Challenge'. Recently Microsoft founder Bill Gates lashed at the company for its Project Loon, which promises internet connectivity in developing countries.
"When you're dying of malaria, I suppose you'll look up and see that balloon, and I'm not sure how it'll help you. When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there's no website that relieves that," Gates told Business Week in an interview.