Google gives to charity this Christmas

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Google gives away $20 million for Christmas

Google has embraced the season of goodwill by donating $20 million (£12.5m) to charity. The search engine has given away the money, destined for charities such as Smile Train, HEAL Africa and Save the Children, rather than purchasing gifts for its advertisers and publishers.

Those on Google's Christmas card list were sent a e-card (pictured) with the message:

"As we near the end of the year, we wanted to take a moment to thank you for the time, energy, commitment, and trust you've shared with us in 2009."

"With sharing in mind, this year we've decided to do something a little different. We hope you'll find it fits the spirit of the holiday season."

Other charities to receive the donation included Feeding America, World Widlife Fund, Reporters Without Borders, The Mango Tree and Global Voices.

'A gift for someone very special'

The festive e-card contains a link which takes readers to a dedicated landing page. The site features an animated globe and the message:

"This gift is for someone very special: Everyone. Because charities are experiencing their toughest year in decades, we have committed $20 million to helping those who help us all. Our gift to you is a gift to them. Happy holidays."

Responses to the scheme have been overwhelmingly positive. Comments on the Google Sidewiki included, "Google has made a huge difference", "Fantastic. Google gets it right again," and "It is so refreshing to see a corporation of this size do this."

In previous years, Google has given out various Christmas gifts, including mugs, mouse mats, USB memory sticks and t-shirts.