Google’s Project 10^100 — an initiative that began two years ago today as a call for ideas that would help improve the lives of people around the world, some of which Google would fund — is finally ready for its grand finale. Google has just announced that it’s given a total of $10 million to five different organizations, after culling through over 150,000 ideas.
This is an awesome move by Google, but it’s worth recapping the lengthy road it took to get here. Two years ago, in honor of the company’s tenth birthday, Google announced the initiative, with plans to hold a vote on incoming submissions a few months later. But Google was mostly silent about the program for exactly one year (we’d occasionally get pinged asking what was going on), until it revealed that it had been overwhelmed by the number of submissions and decided to have the community vote on which 16 broad themes it should be exploring most. After that there was another lengthy one year wait (and more tips from our readers asking if Google had killed the project).
Thankfully the wait is over and the money is being put to great use. Here are brief summaries of the five programs Google is donating to, from Google’s blog post:
Idea: Make educational content available online for free
Project funded: The Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization that provides high-quality, free education to anyone, anywhere via an online library of more than 1,600 teaching videos. We are providing $2 million to support the creation of more courses and to enable the Khan Academy to translate their core library into the world’s most widely spoken languages.
Idea: Enhance science and engineering education
Project funded: FIRST is a non-profit organization that promotes science and math education around the world through team competition. Its mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by giving them real world experience working with professional engineers and scientists. We are providing $3 million to develop and jump start new student-driven robotics team fundraising programs that will empower more student teams to participate in FIRST.
Idea: Make government more transparent
Project funded: Public.Resource.Org is a non-profit organization focused on enabling online access to public government documents in the United States. We are providing $2 million to Public.Resource.Org to support the Law.Gov initiative, which aims to make all primary legal materials in the United States available to all.
Idea: Drive innovation in public transport
Project funded: Shweeb is a concept for short to medium distance, urban personal transport, using human-powered vehicles on a monorail. We are providing $1 million to fund research and development to test Shweeb’s technology for an urban setting.
Idea: Provide quality education to African students
Project funded: The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a center for math and science education and research in Cape Town, South Africa. AIMS’ primary focus is a one-year bridge program for recent university graduates that helps build skills and knowledge prior to master’s and Ph.D. study. We are providing $2 million to fund the opening of additional AIMS centers to promote graduate level math and science study in Africa.