This Is Google’s 5-Year, $1.2 Billion Plan for Latin America

The big tech giant’s investments include a digital wallet in Chile and Brazil, a subsea cable, and hiring engineers

Sundar Pichai
June 09, 2022 | 08:52 AM

San Francisco — Alphabet’s Google (GOOG) has committed to invest $1.2 billion in Latin America over the next five years to support economic development and digital transformation in the region, where the company has had an active presence since 2005.

The investment was announced by Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai during the IX Summit of the Americas, held this week in Los Angeles, California. Of this amount, $300 million – split into $50 million in cash contribution and $250 million in advertising credits – will go to Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, which funds sustainability NGOs and economic opportunities for women.

Part of the resources will go to Pro Mujer to help women-led businesses in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras gain access to training and microcredit. Google said the donations will also support “organizations working to protect biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest”.

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According to the Mountain View-based company, the contribution is divided into four pillars: digital infrastructure, digital skills training, entrepreneurship, and inclusive and sustainable communities. For Pichai, digital transformation can help Latin America recover from the economic hit caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The CEO believes in an “inclusive” rebound by reducing digital inequality.

These are Google’s initiatives for Latin America:

Subsea cable

Google has committed to launching an undersea cable next year. Named Firmina after Brazilian abolitionist Maria Firmina dos Reis, the cable will connect North and South America across the Atlantic Ocean and will ensure a better internet for Google to offer its services in the region. The big tech said the cable, which will be completed in 2023, will be the longest in the world and will run from the United States to Argentina, with additional stops in Brazil and Uruguay.

Hiring engineers

While many companies are laying off, Google plans to increase its team of engineers in Brazil with a focus on privacy and security. The company has had an Engineering Center for Latin America in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, since 2005.

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The big tech company has also committed to offering 1 million scholarships for Google Career Certificates between 2023 and 2026. The certificates come from courses created in recent years by Google to offer professional skills without the need for a university degree or prior experience.

Launch of digital wallet in Brazil and Chile

A competitor to Apple Pay, Google will launch a digital wallet in Chile and Brazil in the coming months, Google Wallet.

Pichai also plans to expand the payments feature for smartphones with the Android operating system to other countries in the region in a second moment.

Google for Startups

Google has also pledged to support entrepreneurs and innovation through its acceleration and mentorship programs. The company said 450 startups have already gone through its programs in Latin America.

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