Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) executive chairman Eric Schmidt announced Monday in an interview with CBS that he is donating $1 million to individuals or groups that use technology to solve world problems. That equals about 833 Google shares, which are trading well above $1,200 apiece. Schmidt was promoting the book The New Digital Age, which he co-authored with Google’s ideas director Jared Cohen.
Eric Schmidt has identified tech companies trying to improve society
Before being named executive chairman, Schmidt has served as the chief executive officer of the world’s most popular search engine company. During the interview, he didn’t mention the individuals or companies that will receive the cash. Eric Schmidt’s announcement comes just a few days after Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced that it will expand its super-fast Internet service Google Fiber to nine U.S. cities.
Schmidt said he has identified a number of companies that are trying to empower individuals and fight oppressive censorship. Jared Cohen said, as the technology spreads, autocrats and dictators will have a harder time. Technology has played a key role in the Arab Spring, and Ukraine is yet another example.
Google chairman on Facebook’s WhatsApp acquisition
Talking about Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s recent acquisition of WhatsApp for $19 billion, Schmidt said if the social network can successfully monetize WhatsApp’s 450 million users, the price was low. But if Facebook fails to monetize, then it was a costly mistake. When asked whether Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) was also in the race, Schmidt neither denied or confirmed reports that the search engine company had offered to pay $10 billion for WhatsApp.
Anyway, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) chairman is not the only billionaire to help charities that foster innovation. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) founder Bill Gates has given away a big chunk of his charity to online education. The popular Khan Academy YouTube lecture series has received funding from Gates. Meanwhile, eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) founder Pierre Omidyar believes in impact investing. He has poured in money to boost innovations that do good to the society, and make money for him.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares ticked up 0.06% to $1,213.25 in pre-market trading Tuesday.