Now Google is going to get into philanthropy, except, oh, it's a for-profit operation, and the books are secret, and Google gets to keep all the profits? Does anyone else here smell a rat, or at the very least a rather callous ad campaign to counter the very good press the Gates Foundation has legitimately earned in the last few months? Lookie, lookie, we give away (a small fraction into technologies we are already interested in investing in) too!
And the technology sheep (as long as we can bleat "We hate Micro$oft", we're happy) are going to be touting this as some kind of big mark in Google's favor.
You know, Google as a company scares me much more than Microsoft. It's stock and trade is data aggregation and distribution. We have only their word that they aren't supplying data to various government and business entities, and I suspect the all mighty dollar will win out. Look at it coldly - the value of Google is their pile of data. They don't make money unless they sell access to that data. They are in the business of SELLING YOUR DATA.
And now they want to play at philanthropy as another revenue stream. The guy running it sounds like a doofus. He yammers on about forming a public, rapid response reporting system for disease outbreaks. Uh, dude, one already exists. My brother is a part of it as an epidemiologist. When I worked at the hospital, *I* was a part of it as a public reporter.
I think that's paradigmatic of what Google is up to. Old ideas being tarted up to sound new, all in service of selling people something.
Sounds like a bunch of hucksters to me.