From supporting refugees, to funding startups, to air strike alert systems: How Google helps Ukraine survive the war

Last week Google announced a $5 million fund to provide Ukrainian startups with equity-free cash awards throughout 2022. Dubbed ‘Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund,’ it will  also convey “ongoing Google mentorship, product support and Cloud credits” to startups “on a rolling basis.”

“This hands-on support is designed to help Ukrainian entrepreneurs maintain and grow their businesses, strengthen their community and build a foundation for post-war economic recovery,” the US company says. 

Meeting with Ukrainian entrepreneurs at Google for Startups Campus Warsaw, Google CEO Sundar Pichai “heard practical ways that Google could help the startup community.”

Ukrainian startups were invited to use Google for Startups Campus Warsaw space as a temporary office. 

“The first few startups — predominantly run by women who have fled the country — are already working from Campus, and we’ve witnessed their determination to succeed,” Google stated.

Since Putin’s war began on Feb. 24, Google has launched a variety of initiatives to support Ukraine. The most notable ones include the following:

  • Google committed $10 million to support Polish NGOs in their effort to deal with refugees. Support has also been provided to NGOs in Slovakia, Romania and Hungary.
  • The US company has developed instruments for businesses providing services to refugees: “hotel owners in countries neighboring Ukraine can indicate on their Business Profile whether they’re offering free or discounted accommodations for refugees,” while “local businesses can post to their Business Profile on Search and Maps to offer various services and aid to refugees from Ukraine.”
  • In early March, answering a request from the Ukrainian government, Google announced it was working on “a rapid air raid alerts system” for Android phones in Ukraine. “This work is supplemental to the country’s existing air raid alert systems, and based on alerts already being delivered by the Ukrainian government.”

Google has also taken an active part in the international sanction campaign against Russia:

  • The Google platforms significantly limit the global exposure of a number of Russian state-funded media outlets. In Europe, Google removed RT and Sputnik from its search results, in accordance with a EU Council regulation, and removed apps from Russian state-funded media from Google Play.
  • Google’s measures have also affected its Russian-language search results. For example, as reported by Meduza, for queries about “Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation,” the search results no longer include  any hyperlinks to the ministry’s official website, instead directing users to ministry’s pages on Wikipedia and social media. On its side Russia blocked access to Google News from its territory and is threatening to do the same with YouTube.
  • In the days and weeks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Google stopped sales of its cloud and advertising services to customers based in Russia. It also suspended billing on its Play mobile app store as well as payment-based services for YouTube users in Russia, citing “payment system disruption.” 
  • Earlier this week, Google decided to ban from its open source programming contest ‘Google Summer Of Code’ participants from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine’s breakaway republics DNR and LNR.
Topics: Finance, Grants, International, Internet, News, Search engines, Venture/Private equity
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