Google offers $10M for ideas that can 'change the world'

Search firm pledges to fund charitable projects suggested by Google users

Google Inc., which is celebrating its 10th birthday this month, today unveiled a $10 million effort to implement ideas that can "change the world by helping as many people as possible."

As part of the Project 10^100 (pronounced Project 10 to the 100th), Google plans to ask its users to submit ideas until Oct. 20 for ways to improve people's lives. Google will choose what it feels are the 100 best ideas and then allow its users to vote on which of them should be funded.

The users will narrow the results to 20 finalists, and a panel of judges will choose up to five ideas that will receive funding, Google said.

"We've learned over the last 10 years at Google that great ideas can come from anywhere," the company said in a statement. For example, "Google Chrome emerged when engineers realized they needed an entirely new browser to sufficiently engage with rich Web applications. Google News began when on 9/11, an engineer became frustrated that he couldn't aggregate news sources from around the world in one place."

Google noted that the ideas can be big or small, technology-driven or not. But they do have to have a potential positive impact on the world.

The company cited an example of two people coming up with an idea to help millions of people carry water long distances by designing the Hippo Water Roller, a relatively inexpensive 24-gallon container that can be easily wheeled on the ground. Google also noted a project undertaken by First Mile Solutions to connect isolated communities to the Internet. For example, the company is attaching Wi-Fi devices to public buses so they can detect and send stored e-mails as the bus travels through unconnected areas.

The categories for the project include, but are not limited to, community, energy, environment, health, education, shelter and opportunities for people to better provide for themselves and their families.

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