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Continuing to support small businesses

Google’s work to address broad societal issues, such as climate change and digital skilling, focuses on creating solutions that are scalable and replicable by others. We believe solutions to global issues are most effective when the private sector, governments, nonprofits and academia come together to reinforce each other’s efforts. At Google, we focus on where…

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Google’s work to address broad societal issues, such as climate change and digital skilling, focuses on creating solutions that are scalable and replicable by others. We believe solutions to global issues are most effective when the private sector, governments, nonprofits and academia come together to reinforce each other’s efforts. At Google, we focus on where we can best contribute to help make those efforts successful.

One example of this is the approach we have taken with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a network of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). At the beginning of the pandemic, we announced the creation of the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and committed $130 million in loans and grants. Our shared goal with OFN is to help CDFIs and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the United States access funding they need to grow. The more than 30 million small businesses in the U.S. are the backbone of the economy and employ nearly half of the private workforce. Importantly, CDFIs focus on SMBs often overlooked by traditional lenders, serving people of color, those with low income, SMBs in rural areas and women. We subsequently increased our commitment and allocated an additional $50 million to support SMBs in the Black community. We were motivated by our conviction that economic growth is sustainable only if it is truly inclusive.

Today, I spoke at OFN’s annual conference and was proud to share that Google has, to date, placed more than 90% of our $180 million commitment. In addition, I announced a new $5 million Google.org grant to OFN to help CDFIs use technologies that support their small business lending, allowing them to scale and innovate as they work to meet the needs of the communities they serve.

We are excited about the work that we have led with OFN to help small businesses in overlooked communities, but we recognize that we are just one piece of a much larger puzzle. As is true with a lot of our work, our greatest impact lies in motivating others to join us, and we are proud that several other companies have made commitments to OFN and the CDFI ecosystem over the past year. We look forward to working alongside even more companies in the future and are hopeful that others will see this momentum and be inspired by it as we are.

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Step into the Meroë pyramids with Google

When you think of pyramids does your mind wander to the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt or the Mayan Temples of Guatemala? Great civilizations built each of these pyramids and inscribed their stories onto the walls of them, offering glimpses into their daily life.The Pyramids of Meroë in Sudan, while lesser known, are no different.…

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When you think of pyramids does your mind wander to the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt or the Mayan Temples of Guatemala? Great civilizations built each of these pyramids and inscribed their stories onto the walls of them, offering glimpses into their daily life.

The Pyramids of Meroë in Sudan, while lesser known, are no different. Today, you can explore these stunning pyramids, which are a UNESCO World Heritage site, on Google Arts & Culture.

Over 200 pyramids were constructed in Meroë, the third and final capital of the Kushite Kingdom, an ancient African civilization that ruled the lands of Nubia for over 3000 years. Now you can take a virtual walk through the Pyramids of Meroë and explore the inscriptions using Street View’s panoramic imagery. You can also learn more about the Kushite Kingdom, their royalty and the architecture behind the pyramids in an immersive web experience that’s available in a range of languages including Arabic, English, French, German and Spanish.

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Bay View is open — the first campus built by Google

Taking green building to a new scaleTo deliver on our commitment to operate every hour of every day on carbon-free energy by 2030, we prioritized renewable energy and maximized the solar potential of our buildings. Bay View’s first-of-its-kind dragonscale solar skin and nearby wind farms will power it on carbon-free energy 90% of the time.The…

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Taking green building to a new scale

To deliver on our commitment to operate every hour of every day on carbon-free energy by 2030, we prioritized renewable energy and maximized the solar potential of our buildings. Bay View’s first-of-its-kind dragonscale solar skin and nearby wind farms will power it on carbon-free energy 90% of the time.

The campus is also on track to be the largest project certified by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) under any of their programs, at any certification level. As part of ILFI’s Living Building Challenge, we’re targeting a Water Petal certification, meaning the site is net-positive with all non-potable water demands being met using the recycled water generated on site. Above-ground ponds that gather rainwater year round and a building wastewater treatment system serve as water sources for cooling towers, flushing toilets and irrigating the landscape. This is a big step toward delivering on our commitment to replenish 120% of the water we consume by 2030.

It doesn’t stop there. Bay View is an example of an all-electric campus and shows what’s possible in regenerative building. Here’s how:

  • The two kitchens that serve seven cafes are equipped with electric equipment rather than gas — a template for fully carbon-free cafes and kitchens.
  • There are 17.3 acres of high-value natural areas — including wet meadows, woodlands and a marsh — that are designed to reestablish native landscapes and rehabilitate Bay Area wetlands. Something that’s especially important as Bay View sits close to the San Francisco Bay.
  • The water retention ponds not only collect water for reuse, but also provide nature restoration, sea level rise protection, and access to the beauty of natural wetlands. New willow groves along the stormwater ponds provide resources for wildlife.
  • The integrated geothermal pile system will help heat and cool the campus. The massive geoexchange field is integrated into the structural system, reducing the amount of water typically used for cooling by 90% — that’s equal to five million gallons of water annually.

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Seniors search what they see, using a new Lens

“Often, when I go for a walk, I stumble upon an unknown flower or a tree. Now I can just take a picture to discover what kind of plant I am standing before,” Verner Madsen, one of the participants, remarked. “I don’t need to bring my encyclopedia. It is really smart and helpful.”Seniors in a…

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“Often, when I go for a walk, I stumble upon an unknown flower or a tree. Now I can just take a picture to discover what kind of plant I am standing before,” Verner Madsen, one of the participants, remarked. “I don’t need to bring my encyclopedia. It is really smart and helpful.”

Seniors in a country like Denmark are generally very tech savvy, but with digitization constantly advancing — accelerating even faster during two years of COVID-19 — some seniors risk being left behind, creating gaps between generations. During worldwide lockdowns, technological tools have helped seniors stay connected with their family and friends, and smartphone features have helped improve everyday life. One key element of that is delivering accurate and useful information when needed. And for that, typed words on a smartphone keyboard can often be substituted with a visual search, using a single tap on the screen.

Being able to “search what you see” in this way was an eye-opener to many. As the day ended, another avid participant, Henrik Rasmussen, declared he was heading straight home to continue his practice.

“I thought I was up to speed on digital developments, but after today I realize that I still have a lot to learn and discover,” he said.

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