Bill Gates Critical of Google's Charity Efforts

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rr17302

I'm a bit surprised at the narrow view of Google's research into providing global internet access. I don't know if it work or if it is feasible ... that is apparently what Google is trying to determine. BTW, Google has said hi-altitude balloons are being used since they can establish network connectivity at a wi-fi power level instead of the far greater power requirements to make satellites work as internet hubs.

As to the use of internet anywhere on the globe being of use to the poor -- well, no, it doesn't treat a physical illness of a chlid but it does give connectivity to the many courageous people working to treat those children in the middle of nowhere. After serving 31 years in the Navy, I can attest to how significant it was to become interconnected anywhere on the ocean 24/7 rather than being out operating on your own with limited ability to reach out for expertise and help when you needed it. A general physician in the boonies of Africa treating a sick kid that needs an operation outside the expertise of that doctor might be able to operate if he/she could Skype over a "Google-SkyNet" to a surgeon back in the US or Europe who could oversee the procedure. Did Google's effort physically treat a child in this case. No. But I could argue that a global internet might have been the key to a successful, LIFE SAVING operation.

My last observation is: Bill Gates has not been prescient in predicting the value of all technologies. Microsoft has struggled to remain dominant since the rapid development of the Internet and global connectivity. From an article in The Atlantic: "Of all of the predictions Gates missed in The Road Ahead, this one might be the costliest. Microsoft is still playing catch-up as a result of failing to anticipate the dominance of the Internet."

Maybe Bill Gates doesn't "see" what the leaders at Google are trying to do. I admit that I don't ... but I appreciate that global connectivity free of major infrastructure requirements -- which posters keep harping on (what about power, water, sewage, etc.) -- will somehow have value in the future if/when Google (or another group) makes it work. Solar or a pedal-generator can power a tablet or laptop that would be capable of accessing a wi-fi network. I believe both are available around the globe....

I'm glad Bill Gates is getting medical care to remote areas. I'm also glad others are trying to make the world a better place in different ways.

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limitbreaker

Lol we have the return of the infamous troll.

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Carlidan

Good they got rid of him.

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Shalbatana

Is Google doing too much for its own benefit and not enough for humanity? That I can't say...but come on Bill, we all know who's going to supply the OS for the MANDATORY computer education and grading systems for the Core Curriculum program that's trashing our education system right now.

If you want to blame someone else for having their own interests at heart for their philanthropy, perhaps a look on the front doorstep is in order first.

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methuselah

@Specnode

I'm all for reducing the population.

Let's start w/ you.

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satrain18

Is it me, or is Project Loon is supposed to benefit only rich tourists who wants to live blog their safaris and vacations in remote locales?

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Xenite

One could argue that malaria will not be such an issue once certain regions can be brought out of the stone age.

Telecommunications and infrastructure can lead to industry which then leads to a better society when done correctly.

Vaccines are nice but they don't uplift a regions culture and living standards.

Their is no silver bullet when you are talking about regions that need not only better health but housing, clean water, sustainable farming not to mention most of these areas are ruled over by warlords and two bit despots.

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tekknyne

advanced telecommunicatiosn and infrastructure? Umm lets start with reading and writing bro.

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John Pombrio

It is extremely hard for a child to learn to use a computer or smartphone when he is dead.

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MaximumMike

One could also argue that Malaria is spread by mosquito bites, and that until you figure out how to do something about the mosquitoes, no amount of culture is going to do anything about malaria. And yes, vaccines for malaria do more for living standards than internet access.

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cc3d

Gates is doing great work, but google is doing something good too, just different. Communications is the key to solving many problems, once you have a good foundation for communications, many other problems can get solved quicker.

Talk about what Apple is doing? (not much) Talk about what these great charities are doing with 35% of the donated money while they pocket the rest. If you're going to bitch, bitch about those that are doing nothing or who pretend to do somehthing and get rich from it.

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Jox

"Project Loon is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters."

You all seem to be missing the point that this is not an endeavour meant solely for 3rd-world nations (though they would surely benefit as well). This is a project meant to connect everyone: world-wide. This initiative may not cure malaria in some impoverished African nation, but it would likely be a great help to some inner-city kid who can't afford to pay $50 per month to Comcast. Likewise, it would benefit the (some figures say as high as) %40 of people in the USA alone that don't have high-speed internet available to them because they live outside of a major population centre.

Additionally, I can't imagine it would be overly difficult to add some cellular antennae to the mix, which would provide greater coverage areas. There is the further benefit that, if done right, this could result in lower internet/cellular bills for everyone as the incumbents are forced to become competitive. Personally, I don't see how this could be considered anything but a good thing.

-Jox

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Zanshi

Unless Google launches new balloons every so often, this plan is COMPLETELY absurd and unfeasible. Helium leeches out of balloons, ESPECIALLY at the edge of the atmosphere. They're better off spending more money on satellites if they want long term cost benefits.

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Ch0plol

On NPR they were saying that even years of doing this with a large amount of balloons plus relaunching them often it is still a lower cost than launching a satellite. That being said, this is still very much in the experimental phase and not something they're getting ready to launch full scale.

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Jox

"Helium leeches out of balloons..."

While this is true, I'm guessing this is mitigated by the material used. Consider the lowly weather balloon: if it were such a losing proposition, they wouldn't be in use today. Regardless, even if they have to launch a new balloon every few weeks, it's probably still a cheaper prospect than getting a satellite into orbit.

-Jox

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tony2tonez

Its always nice to see other people tell other people how they should spend their money

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Zanshi

But if Google's idea to spend money in a certain project or idea is completely ludicrous (and it is in this case), I think it's a fair and constructive criticism.

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tony2tonez

Ok start an successful business and I will criticize how you spend your business money. After all, its constructive.

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SuperSATA

I say give criticism you can. Let it all out. That's how businesses improve. In what way is criticism ever bad?

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SuperSATA

I've got an idea. Instead of giving poor people internet and needless indulgences, why not just give them clean water, insulation and sturdy materials for better housing, protein, and clean health facilities first? I'm with Gates on this one. The best thing you can do to help the poor is work from the ground up.

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cc3d

so, send them your paycheck

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SuperSATA

"I've got an IDEA."

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warptek2010

Why stop there? Why not identify the root causes of theses peoples situation and then do something meaningful about that? As long as those underlying causes exist you will always have a needy person. Helping the needy and the poor is great, don't get me wrong... but you're not addressing the cancer, you're alleviating the suffering that comes from the cancer.

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SuperSATA

Oh no, I'm not saying we should stop there. I'm saying we should at least START there, by providing needs first. And once they get the things they need to stay alive in the meantime, you can start working on the root causes. But obviously it's important that we need to keep them alive while fixing the root causes. If some starving person asked for food, would you say "I'm working on the underlying causes, hold on?"

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firefox91

"When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there’s no website that relieves that."

Not exactly Bill...
http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/diarrhea-directory

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albe23

I'm curious as to how exactly that helps the third world people that don't have clean water, electricity, proper sewage systems, etc. But good on you for missing the point.

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Zanshi

I really wish we could thumbs up comments, because you nailed it! :)

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vrmlbasic

Why wouldn't Google just build a satellite instead of this balloon network (reminds me of the proposed "municipal wifi blimps" of yesteryear)? How would people in the dirt poor nations access the internet?

What does Google get out of collecting the internet data of 3rd world countries? Would their space-internet network be globally accessible, luring in the 1st and 2nd worlders and their more profitable data, with the "help the poor starving souls in some forsaken hellhole with our space-internet" notion being just a line to give us first-worlders that warm, fuzzy feeling?

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albe23

Pretty sure it's just something they wanted to do for giggles or marketing. The countries Gate's does work in don't even have stable electricity, so how this would benefit anyone......

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Renegade Knight

Ballons are cheap. A satalite and the launch very expensive.

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Zanshi

But long term it's actually cheaper, because you have to keep replacing the balloons every few hours.

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Ch0plol

Actually, long term the balloons are much cheaper. They did an interview on NPR about this and even years of relaunching balloons is much cheaper than launching a satellite.

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Jasker

At the top of the article is a quote, however when you read it you see that's not quite what he said.

"When a kid gets diarrhea, there's no website for that." Sounds super douchy. Luckily that's not what he actually said.

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Cohiba

So we can debate the technical merits of Google, Microsoft, and Apple all day long. But as far as charity goes, its not close:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/Press/2012/Oct12/10-18GivingPR.aspx

http://philanthropy.com/blogs/social-philanthropy/is-apple-anti-charity/24565 (though TBH T. Cook is changing that. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/03/apple-charity-donation_n_1253185.html)

http://www.google.com/giving/index.html

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albe23

Do you have data on the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation?

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albe23

........double post......

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stige

well it's a two way street.

he's right, serious unmet medical needs are not being addressed by the big G's version of philanthropy.

on the other hand, access to information, and the world outside their limited bubble is addressing another type of significant unmet need. social and economic access through the internet can be a powerful thing, in it's own way.

taking the holistic approach - it's their money, let them use it how they please. and only a cynic would say it's so the big G can increase it's advertising revenue.....

so i'm not saying that. yet.

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vrmlbasic

How are these 3rd world denizens going to access Google's proposed space-internet?

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Upyourbucket

Bill Gates, You looking for ways to spend your money in a positive way?
Help put people back to work in the country that you live in.

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pastorbob

Actually he is. The number of jobs generated through the efforts of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are pretty significant. And the education programs in this country that the foundation supports focus on making certain kids graduate from high school ready for college. That in turn will have a positive impact on the economy long term.

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vrmlbasic

+1

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

His views on education betray his actual level of concern for the poor and underprivileged.

He is good for a soundbite.

Not my hero.

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vrmlbasic

Nor is he my hero. I dislike that he seems to be held by the masses as some sort of tech genius when serious doubt abounds about his technical abilities. About the only thing he can claim to be is a touch insane and a savvy businessman.

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CaptainFabulous

If Bill Gates had been a noble compassionate philanthropist since the 80s instead of being a greedy jackass second only to Steve Jobs for most of those years perhaps then he'd have enough credit to criticize companies that are barely a decade old.

He is in NO position to judge anyone considering his history. Sure, give him props for "seeing the light" and all that, but just because you've now become a humanitarian after decades of being an asshole doesn't give you the right to criticize others.

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pastorbob

FYI Captain Fabulous - His charitable foundation was formed in 1994, 19 years ago or more than half the years Microsoft has existed (37 years - they were founded in 1976). So much for his "decades of being an asshole".

As far as I am concerned he and his wife are two of the most generous people in the world. They both have my total respect and admiration.

What percentage of your income do you give to charitable causes?

Just saying.

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Renegade Knight

It's worth noting. It wasn't Microsofts foundation it was Bill Gates. Bill Gates is now dissing Google instead of it's founder.

As for your question about percentages of income. If you rephrase it to "What percentage of your income is left over after your living expences to give..." then you have a starting point.

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pastorbob

"As for your question about percentages of income. If you rephrase it to 'What percentage of your income is left over after your living expences to give...' then you have a starting point."

I guess it depends on your understanding of giving. My giving comes off the top before living expenses. But I do understand it is not the norm for most people.

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vrmlbasic

Hold on a second, didn't his charitable foundation specialize in donating swarms of Windows-running computers to organizations such as schools? Is it really charitable when a donation is actually an investment (since it will familiarize kids with Windows, working to perpetuate Gates' fortune)?

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CaptainFabulous

So then he was only a greedy douchebag for ~14 years. When Google gets to 20 then he gets to criticize. Let's face facts, he's only been a prominent philanthropist for around a decade, despite his foundation being formed in 1994. After all he was still the CEO of Microsoft at the time which was his #1 priority. So again, now that you're a billionaire with nothing else to do it's really easy to sit back and criticize others who aren't even playing the same game as you are. Good to see Bill hasn't lost all his douchiness.

How much or little I give to charity is irrelevant to the topic. How much of your income do YOU give to charity?

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pastorbob

I don't think Gates was criticizing Google as much as he was challenging them to put their charitable dollars to better use.

And the man was doing his job building and running a multi-billion dollar company. Do you consider anyone in a position such as his a greedy asshole and douch? Besides, you have no idea how much he gave at the time he was CEO of Microsoft.

Finally, my point in asking about your charitable donations was to point out he has a lot more room to challange and/or criticize Google than you do to criticize him. Not irrelevent at all.