As usual, Google is up to groundbreaking things. Last week Google announced that they've set up a philanthropic division - Google.org - with about $1 billion initial funding they aim to use toward tackling disease, poverty and global warming. Slashdot reports that one of the for-profit organization's first projects will include developing a hybrid vehicle engine that has the mileage rating equivalent to 100 MPG. The site itself outlines several of their current undertakings including funding water research and improving literacy.
Skeptics have spoken out on its structure (for-profit means that they will have to pay taxes) and its ambition (i.e. attacking global poverty). But Google has already revolutionized how we interact online and in some cases offline (i.e. Google Desktop), and how we manage, store and search information. I don't think they've gotten this far by playing it safe.
I say rock on, Google.org.