From wind turbines and self-driving cars to mail goggles and consumer genomics, Google likes to experiment. Its latest foray into the world of ideas focuses on digital journalism, an ever-evolving and increasingly graphics-rich area for which the search giant has just committted millions. Google announced yesterday that it will give $5 million in grants to non-profit organizations that are working to develop new approaches to journalism in the digital age. “Our aim is to benefit news publishers of all sizes,” wrote Nikesh Arora, Google’s president of global sales operations and business development, on the company blog. “We hope these grants will help new ideas blossom and encourage experimentation.” First up: the Knight Foundation, which has received a $2 million grant to support its media innovation work (you’ll recall their Knight News Challenge initiative). Googler Marissa Mayer co-chaired the foundation-sponsored Knight Commission on Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy, which made recommendations to extend broadband access to all Americans, and on media literacy. As for the other $3 million in up-for-grabs grant money, Google plans to invest it in creative journalism projects outside of the United States. Details are expected early next year—so bloggers, now may be the perfect time to open a Belize bureau.
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