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Microsoft, Google extend support to India amid surge in COVID-19 cases
Indian-American CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella and his Google counterpart Sundar Pichai on Monday extended their support to India amid a record surge in coronavirus cases.
Taking to Twitter, Nadella said, "I am heartbroken by the current situation in India. I'm grateful the US government is mobilising to help. Microsoft will continue to use its voice, resources, and technology to aid relief efforts, and support the purchase of critical oxygen concentration devices."
Meanwhile, keeping the current situation in mind, Pichai tweeted, "Devastated to see the worsening Covid crisis in India. Google & Googlers are providing Rs 135 crore in funding to @GiveIndia, @UNICEF for medical supplies, orgs supporting high-risk communities, and grants to help spread critical information."
Amidst the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, India reported 3.52 lakh fresh coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. This is the highest single-day spike registered since the onset of the pandemic.
Pichai's tweet also had a link to a blog where Google detailed ways to help with their efforts to fight the worsening situation.
On the blog, Sanjay Gupta, country head and VP, Google India wrote, "Today we're announcing Rs 135 crore (USD 18 million) in new funding for India. This includes two grants from Google.org, Google's philanthropic arm, totalling Rs 20 crore (USD 2.6 million). The first is to GiveIndia to provide cash assistance to families hit hardest by the crisis to help with their everyday expenses. The second will go to UNICEF to help get urgent medical supplies, including oxygen and testing equipment, to where it's needed most in India. It also includes donations from our ongoing employee giving campaign -- so far more than 900 Googlers have contributed Rs 3.7 Crore (USD 500,000) for organizations supporting high-risk and marginalized communities."
Moreover, Gupta also informed about Ad Grant support for public health information campaigns.
"This funding also includes increased Ad Grant support for public health information campaigns. Since last year, we've helped MyGov and the World Health Organization reach audiences with messages focused on how to stay safe and facts about vaccines. We're increasing our support today with an additional Rs 112 Crore (USD 15 million) in Ad Grants to local health authorities and non-profits for more language coverage options."
"Google is already helping India with its core information products like Search and Maps, YouTube and Ads. COVID features on Search are available in India, in English and eight Indian languages, that continue to improve localization and highlight authoritative information.
"This includes information on where to get testing and vaccines. Maps and Search surface thousands of vaccine sites. Google is also collaborating closely with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and with organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to support vaccine awareness initiatives," said Gupta in the blog.
On YouTube, Google is supporting the Indian government in their vaccine communication strategy. It ran a workshop for 200+ health officials to learn how they can use YouTube to reach audiences across Indian languages with vaccine information.