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Google, Microsoft launch charity efforts

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Google and Microsoft each unveiled new charitable initiatives Tuesday, in separate efforts which channel millions of dollars to innovators tackling social ills. 

Google and Microsoft each unveiled new charitable initiatives Tuesday, in separate efforts which channel millions of dollars to innovators tackling social ills.

Google launched its Global Impact Awards program with a first round of funding allocating a total of $23 million to seven organizations "changing the world."

"Technology has dramatically improved our lives, from the speed at which we get things done to how we connect with others," Google director of giving Jacquelline Fuller said in a blog post announcing the awards.

"Yet innovations in medicine, business and communications have far outpaced tech-enabled advances in the nonprofit sector."

Meanwhile, Microsoft held a Social Innovation Summit at which it announced the winners of $3 million in "Imagine Cup" grants to students with promising projects for the global good.

"The Imagine Cup Grants will help students evolve a great idea for addressing a societal issue into a real-world business," said Dan'l Lewin, corporate vice president of Strategic and Emerging Business Development at Microsoft.

"These students have developed incredible approaches that show great potential for positive local impact."

A $100,000 grand prize Imagine Cup grant went to a team from Germany that devised a way to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions by letting each driver know the best route to their destination.

Other grant winners included Australian students with a way to better detect pneumonia and a team from the Ukraine that developed a handheld gadget that translates sign language into verbal communication.

Imagine Cup awards include software and "cloud" computing services for winners.

Google Global Impact awards included $5 million for Charity Water to install water flow sensors at thousands of points across Africa and $3 million to use "DNA barcoding" of endangered species to fight illegal wildlife trade.

The World Wildlife Fund was awarded $5 million for technology to battle poaching. Millions of dollars were also awarded to groups involved with improving math and science education in the United States.

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