back to article Google promises 0.001 of revenue to free the slaves

Google is on course to smash the £30bn annual revenue barrier by the end of this year, so - in time-honoured fashion with it be Christmas 'n' all - the company has plonked just over 0.1 per cent of this cash on the philanthropic pile. The world's largest ad broker isn't just fretting about educating girls, empowering people …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does that group include EA programmers?

    Does that group include EA programmers?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    While I applaud companies giving to responsible charity - 0.1 per cent, not exactly tithing, is it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That depends on what the 0.1% is of, if it's £1 then no, 0.1% is nothing.

      But since it's 0.1% of $30bn - you just said that $40m dollars "not exactly tithing, is it?", I think the charities might disagree with you there.

      1. strum


        Tithing = 'tenthing'

    2. KnucklesTheDog

      Lets keep in mind they took $30 billion in *revenue*, not profit. Although I suspect their profit is fairly healthy too, revenue has presumably been used in the article to make their donation look worse than it is from a percentage point of view.

    3. John Robson Silver badge

      This is a single donation - not their entire giving.

      Of course they probably don't tithe, but dealing with US tax it wouldn't be entirely surprising...

      1. John Hughes

        Since when did Google "deal with US tax"?

        Just google "google US tax evasion".

    4. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      $40m may sound a lot but remember google also want to give $33m to NASA to give Hangar One a makeover so that they have somewhere nice to stash their fleet of eight private jets!

      No doubt the donation to the charitable fund will be made in whatever country has the highest tax, any chance it will be made from one of the international tax havens that google operate from.

      Just because I'm a cynical old git doesn’t mean that there isn’t some financial advantage to google in doing this.

  3. Bakunin

    Free more than 12,000 people from serfdom.

    Surely Apple has more customers than that !!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      A stonking quip to see the year out.

      I salute you!

    2. Rampant Spaniel

      True, but given they are identical drones it's an easy mistake to make.

      I may be a cynical old bugger but I wonder if this donation is a hit at apple and the way their suppliers treat their workers? Punt 11m towards driving up Apples cost to make their products? Just a thought :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I thought

        The apple manufacturers (Hon Hai /= Foxconn )were spending over $3 Billion on a robot making factory, factory. Having dropped the idea of buying them in. 1 million by 2013, up from tens of thousands right now.

        With the autonomy working it's way into all professions, , I can't see many people escpaing it.

  4. James Micallef Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Hey, el Reg!

    No need to be snide about what a small percentage it is. That's a huge amount of cash going to a good cause so well done Google

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Thumb Up


      They did not have to do that, but they did. Well done.

  5. Miek

    sorry, was that 0.1 or 0.001 % ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      0.1% of the revenue is going to charity, 0.001% is going to free slaves - whether that 0.001% is of the original revenue or the 0.1% going to charity I don't know.

    2. craigj

      0.1% for charitable causes. 0.001% specifically for dealing with slavery. It's all in the article if you care to read :)

    3. Martyn Welch


      It would be 0.1% or 0.001 when expressed as a decimal fraction. Did you miss the lack of a percent sign in the title?

  6. Yag

    Google is 0.001% not evil :)

  7. Hollerith 1

    Where did they get their stats?

    Let's choose the year, say, AD 1720. We have slavery rife in the New World, in Europe (esp eastern Europe), Russia, China, the Muslim world, and Africa. Every serf and peasant bound to the land and without rights to dispose of his or her property, wealth or children, forbidden to travel, and under the authority of some master, was a slave. Serfs in Russia could be bought and sold as easily as an African deportee to the Americas.

    There are many more people in the world today, but the percentage in bondage is probably smaller. Not that this justifies a single person suffering the realities of slavery right now. But the rich locals in Dubai want their house servants and we want cheap designer clothes and many people are in poverty and powerless, so as night follows day...

    1. veti Silver badge

      'Slavery' in this context is quite rigidly defined, and it specifically excludes 'serfs' (whose labour is forced by economic necessity, not by whips and chains).

      In terms of absolute numbers (not proportions): the upper-bound limit for estimates of the number of true slaves today is around 27 million. Historically, the peak population was probably reached in the early 19th century, when there were an estimated 8-9 million in India, 3.5 million in the USA, a million or so in the Arab world, plus substantial numbers in China, Korea and the Ottoman Empire. I haven't seen any serious attempts to estimate worldwide total numbers at that time, but it's entirely possible the number would have been lower than 27 million.

    2. Ru

      Ahh, percentages

      "the percentage in bondage is probably smaller"

      0.1% isn't a very big percentage either, but y'know, the absolute value turns out to be quite a few pennies when you're talking about the size of Google's cashpile.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        After a certain Formula 1 guy got caught by the newspapers theres a few less people in bondage these days.

  8. JDX Gold badge

    It's very British that when a big company or rich person gives something away, journalists find a way to portray it in a negative way.

    However I thought the Reg was a bit above such negativism as we see in the tabloids.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Except when Bill Gates is involved. Then His Majesty has been so very generous indeed. The shavings from His richly deserved billions are so much more than we ungrateful peasants should ever expect. (Exit, doffing cap repeatedly, apologising.)

    2. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Don't forget that the British are bought up on a diet of everything should be handled by the state (NHS, benefits, overseas aid...).

      So when a wealthy company (who, not being the state, are evil) gives money, it is greeted with cynical responses. It's OK for a footballer to earn millions, but god help a director or owner of a business.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        OMG British Communist Monarchists etc

        The British are brought up on a diet of government fiscal policy being better than relying on charity, yes. Its super you feel that relying on the generosity of the private sector is fine, and governments should be squandering their money on... what, their militaries? But that's rather irrelevant here... I'm not quite sure where y'all are getting the impression that this is a negative article. It clearly states that the tiny percentage of Google's wealth adds up to a big sum of money, and its being used for a perfectly reasonable cause. Seems like a positive article to me, but then, not being a yank maybe there are overtones I've missed.

        Speaking of slavery and forced labour, how's the US domestic manufacturing industry doing? Good on you all for keeping penal servitude alive and well, and keeping those prisons well stocked with ethnic types, like all those folk who used to work your plantations.

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Well put.

          Looking at the PISA results for 2000-2009 it isnt entirely clearcut. Towards the start of the 'naughties' British students decimated American ones. More recently the American students are ahead. Whats more interesting is how far from the top both countries are. Korea, Finland and more recently some parts of China are well ahead.

          Pure capitalism (like pretty much any other ideology) is flawed. We try and make the best and get along. There isn't a perfect solution because we aren't perfect. Theres always going to be the greedy, the feckless and the workshy to spoil it one way or another. A socialist, quasi capitalist democracy isn't perfect but well implemented it isn't bad. Pure capitalism well implemented works, but again not perfectly as we are seeing right now. Poor education, wealthy inequality and protests, high unemployment.

          It's a sad day when our kids can't be better educated than kids in countries with a per capita gdp 1/10th of ours.

        2. Tom 13

          The Yank overtone you are missing is that

          anything less than 0.1% isn't worth mentioning.

          And yes, private giving is vastly morally superior to government giving. Government giving is some taking your money with the threat of physical violence if you don't pay, to give it to someone who didn't earn it. Oh, yes, there are layers and layers of obfuscation about it, but when all is said and done, you either comply with the orders of the state or you get shot.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Tom 13

            The idea that the wealthy must have earned their wealth or they wouldn't have it is naive (to say the least!) One of the greatest recent examples of charitable giving has been the bail out of banks whose high 'earners' have, for example, reduced the value of Lloyds Bank from 505p a share to 34p a share. People who are not just worthless but a positive liability. Are they in the gutter? I think not.

            The same rule of law that enforces taxation is the one that protects the lives and property of the wealthy. In fact property is a purely legal concept; without the law nobody would OWN anything. And, without the threat of force, there is no law.

            All research on the subject shows that the poor give proportionately more to charity than the wealthy. Perhaps they are morally superior?

      2. Lamont Cranston

        Speaking as a Brit,

        I'd be happy if everyone (be they a corporation, a footballer, or the man in the street) paid their tax, as this would allow the state to better handle it's responsibilities.

      3. Anonymous Coward

        Curse those commie Brits. USA USA USA

        USA USA USA.....

  9. AdamWill

    why exactly...

    ...isn't the headline here 'Google donates only just more than 1/1000th of its revenue to charity'?

    I always thought the olde-time convention of 10% still more or less held. Maybe that's just for normal suckers, not large corporations.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    OK, its not trivial money in personal terms, but based on % of annual income I reckon I'm about 100 times more generous than Google.

    1. Local Group

      You are a well known sole-proprietorship, AC.

      But Google has to answer to millions of shareholders. 99.99% of shareholders do not want the corporations they own throwing their money around in a way that doesn't increase their revenues, their profits, or the price of their shares.

      It's as simple as that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      100x0.1 = 10% - assuming your earning a minimum of £10k a year - you're giving at least £1,000 to charity a year?

      Try again. I don't understand why everyone is whining about Google giving $40m to charity, they are not obliged to.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC 10:28

        My actual figures are around double your assumptions, so yes, I can do arithmetic and it is 10% of my income because it is money I am lucky I don't *need* for my normal lifestyle and so prefer to help certain charities instead.

        It is good that Google do something, and as I said in absolute personal terms it is a lot, but I feel that generosity is a measure of how much you sacrifice for a 'good cause'.

        Applying Google's contribution (same theory applied for for BillyG) it would be my handing out £20 a year. Yes, it is better than kicking a beggar...

  11. Clay Landis

    Nice but ...

    Wouldn't it be better to rent mercs to wipe out the slavers? I mean, to end the fur trade, you don't go out and buy all the fur coats.

    1. Chimp

      Hang 'em high

      The way this money is used has the potential to make the problem worse, rather than better.

      Spend it on prosecuting slavers in the first world, and on educating people about the reality of these cheap migration plans.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Romans,,,

    used to put 2.5% away "for Mercury", the Roman god of Commerce (and Thieves).

    The Arabs and Jews put aside 5% for "Zahkat" (Charity).

    Obviously Google are 25-50 times outside the aboves' leagues.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Apples, oranges

      The pertinent question is how much did Apple, Microsoft, or any other major corporation donate to anything?

  13. Kernel Silver badge

    Charity begins at home

    It would be a good start if Google used this money to sort out the slavery conditions under which undocumented migrants labour in the southern US before sticking their noses into other countries.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      If Google didnt "stick their noses into other countries" it wouldn't exist. It's as big as it is precisely because it's international, cross territory, localized globally, and indexes data from everywhere. Dont be a bell-end.

  14. Nuke

    About Time

    It is about time that people stopped fretting about slavery in the 18th century (a subject constantly being rammed down our throats - I'm looking eg at Bristol City Council) and started looking around themselves today.

    1. Lamont Cranston

      God forbid

      that we learn anything from history.

  15. laird cummings

    Better than nothing.

    I suppose.

    1. Tom 13

      Actually, I would prefer they gave nothing.

      Money from private persons for their own reasons are fine, but I have a huge problem with megacorps donating money to some charity I might not even support and then expecting a pat on the back from the media. I give my donations where I feel appropriate and as I see fit. That's between me and God, not me and everybody else in the world. Same thing should apply to corporate types.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For a publicity stunt this is not as cheap and tasteless as handing out 5 crappy devices to 'Android malware victims'.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google can do it, if anyone can

    They know where they are, what they're doing, how much was paid for them and which ones are the most productive.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I dont get it?

    This article is written almost with disdain. But what on earth is wrong with giving money to charity?

    0.1 of £30bn is more than most people give.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I've just replied the same thing to 2 posters above moaning about the %, I just wish I could upvote your post more than once.

      I give £8pm - which on my rubbish wage works out at 0.0053%. Woo, my £8 is more generous than Google's $40m... eat it Google, you suck.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      how much does ElReg give to charity (as a percentage of revenue or profits or whatever)?

      hmm, hmmmm !!?!

    3. Sean Baggaley 1

      Because there's a big difference between...

      ... giving money away simply because you think it's the right thing to do, and *announcing* your charitable donations to *the media* because it gets you lots of *free publicity*.

      One is a genuinely selfless act. The other is a cynical marketing ploy thinly disguised in a "Selfless Act of Generosity®" costume.

      That giving money to charity can also help reduce your corporate tax burden may also have a strong bearing on the amount being donated. When a corporation (or a large trust fund, or any person or entity with a large sum of disposable cash—and a pretty big tax bill rumbling in their general direction) not only gives money away, but makes a big song and dance about it, you can bet your arse it's not being done for the sheer joy of giving some money to people who would like to build glorified water fountains in Africa that will never be maintained and will thus be of no use to anyone within a year or so of their construction.

      [Source: ]

      You can get a pretty big discount off your next tax bill if you can show you've been giving away cash to charities. When Google "donates" money like this, remember that YOU are ALSO effectively donating on their behalf—without any by-your-leave—because that loss of tax revenue from Google has to be made up by tax revenues from someone else. I.e. you.

      That nobody knows if / what Apple or Jobs has donated money to is an interesting point: the *assumption* is that no money went to a worthwhile cause, but I'd consider "keeping lots of people in gainful employment in a period of recession" a pretty damned worthwhile "cause".

      We've been giving money to the starving people of African nations since the '80s, and they're *still* starving. Instead of teaching them how to fish, we assuaged our collective Abrahamic guilt—despite many Western societies now being ostensibly secular, it's impossible to wipe out millennia of religious influence overnight—by just throwing fish at them instead. The latter option is merely a short-term solution and has precisely no long-term benefits. It does, however, have some long-term *drawbacks*:

      Entire generations have grown up who view themselves as chronic victims, have become effectively dependent on charitable donations, have too little education and information infrastructure available to allow them to make informed decisions in elections, and who are misruled by corrupt politicians, charlatans and warlords, all squabbling over all that lovely free cash. (There are a very few exceptions, but not many.)

      Charity is not "good" by definition. It just means "giving stuff away". Research your target charities carefully; you may be surprised at how much they charge for, say, "administration costs", and how little they've actually manage to achieve over the years.

      Therefore, just because someone is doing something "for charity", it does not logically follow that what they're doing is inherently "good". They may *believe* it is good, but that doesn't make it so.

  19. yossarianuk

    Does that include Microsoft customers?

    After all once you start using their products they try and lock you into their systems (the matrix) ...

    (Windows is the only OS I know that pretends not to be aware of any other OS's also)

    But seriously, good one Google!

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      As a percentage, a £40m pot is chicken feed. Open source fanboyz may slag off MS, but they handed out £96m last year. Still not great, but twice as generous as 'not evil' Google.

      1. Tim Parker


      2. Nuke


        You must be new here.

        The "Evil" of MS (or Google) does not come from how much they give (or do not give) to charity. No company is obliged to do that, and I am not even sure they should anyway. It comes from their behaviour as a business. That MS money to which you refer has been ripped off people by shady and downright illegal means :-

        There is no equivalent to this in Google activity.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've just finished reading the most excellent "The Strong Brown God: The Story of the Niger River" by Sanche De Gramont. In it he comments on the abolitionist activities of Victorian Britain. Whatever the moral imperatives, there were extremely powerful economic incentives to keep the local population where they were, so that they could become active producers (of palm oil and similar, to be shipped off to European factories) and consumers (of trinkets etc.)

    Anyway, there's an irrelevant factoid for you.

    Just in case there's some sort of parallel I haven't spotted, I'd better post anonymously.

  21. SamCrawford

    Wow, this is awfully snide, and with a misleading title too. Why present the headline figure as a decimal (0.001) and then the percentage in the first sentence? Who would use a decimal like that for any reason other than to belittle the number? You'd never see a headline like "ACME CORP PROMISES 0.99 OF REVENUE TO FREE THE SLAVES" - they'd use 99%.

    1. fot

      I love Ballmer

  22. tom 71


    I'm pretty sure the 0.001 figure is deliberate especially considering the related headline

    "Google gives Eric Schmidt 124,999,900% salary increase".

    Please carry on (ab)using the numbers like this, perhaps we'll begin to pay more attention to them when used in more important contexts.

  23. General Malaise


    0.1% of a decent salary (£27,000 * 0.001) is only £27 per annum. I know many who give that in time/money monthly.

    Google have no duty to give anything, but 0.1% is not especially generous, relatively speaking, as they pay considerably less in business tax than your £27k earner does in income tax. Each co-founder is worth $16 billion, and could give away 99% of that and have $160 million on which to scrape by.

  24. honkhonk34

    It's a rather large sum of money, presenting it in a way that demeans that seems snide, as commented above.

    Also, does anyone know if this money came from Google's usual yearly donation funds or if it was above and beyond their usual donation funds?

    If the latter, it's especially snide.

  25. Mikel
    Thumb Up

    Biting the hand and all that

    Microsoft is giving stuff away to a good cause too. Just whine about android on twitter and you might win a free WP7 phone.

  26. Big Al
    Thumb Up

    You're watching...


    Which has been running an awareness campaign on this issue for much of the year.

    Ted Turner will doubtless be delighted that the issue is now getting the attention it deserves :)

  27. Mr Young

    Good for them!

    Many will be cynical (there's certainly plenty negative comment about Google) but I consider this good news when all I seem to hear about is the bad shit that happens. Hope the money actually does help.

  28. A_Crane
    Thumb Down

    Perhaps if Google paid a fair level of corporation tax in the countries they operate they could leave international development and policing of international law to governments, rather than making headline grabbing goodwill gestures.

  29. davtom

    And how much...

    has El Reg given to charity from its turnover in its time?

    Does it compete with 0.001 of Google's revenue?

  30. hugo tyson

    Read Lomborg

    Read 'the Skeptical Environmentalist' to grok how these stats can be used two diametrically opposite ways.

    Eg. more children die of starvation in Africa than ever before - but the proportion is smaller than it's ever been. Both are because more *don't* die in childbirth, of other diseases, war, &c - so things are *better* than they've ever been. But Presentism (qv) and charity publicists must always find the doomiest story....

  31. Tankboy
    Black Helicopters

    Well then

    That's mighty white of them.

  32. JDX Gold badge

    Google are under no obligation to give to charity...

    I tithe (literally) but I see no reason Google have a responsibility to do the same, or any company for that matter. I think it's more a personal decision.

  33. Homer 1

    Tiny percentage?

    The author forgot to include this little factoid:

    {quote}These grants, which total $40 million, are only part of our annual philanthropic efforts. Over the course of the year, Google provided more than $115 million in funding to various nonprofit organizations and academic institutions around the world; our in-kind support (programs like Google Grants and Google Apps for Education that offer free products and services to eligible organizations) came to more than $1 billion, and our annual company-wide GoogleServe event and related programs enabled individual Googlers to donate more than 40,000 hours of their own volunteer time.{/quote}

  34. Local Group

    Anybody else think...

    that the comments criticizing Google, not for donating $40 million, but for only donating 0.1% of their revenues, is exactly what Disraeli meant when he spoke of "lies, damn lies, and statistics"?

  35. Microphage

    How to negative spin this story

    "the company has plonked just over 0.1 per cent of this cash on the philanthropic pile"

    Yea, as well as that they've patented the concept and are licensing 'slavery` under Reasonable and nondiscriminatory (RAND) © terms.

  36. IDoNotThinkSo
    Black Helicopters

    We're all slaves.

    The government take about 50% of my earnings on threat of kidnap if I don't comply. I have signed no contract with them to say they can do this.

    The Lord of the Manor took less from his serfs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You can leave

      any time you want.

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