Search giant Google has hired an award-winning expert in health and development to oversee the charitable arm of its business, which Google's founders claim could one day have a greater impact on the world than the main company.
Dr Larry Brilliant was appointed as executive director of Google.org on Wednesday and will work with the company's co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to manage Google's charitable donations and philanthropic strategies.
Dr Brilliant is a physician, epidemiologist and a specialist in international health. He played a key role in the World Health Organisation campaign to eradicate smallpox and has also worked for the UN in the fields of blindness and polio eradication.
"I'm deeply honoured to have been selected to direct Google.org," said Dr Brilliant." I have great admiration for Google's technical contributions to society and believe that it can have an equally great impression through philanthropy."
Google may be hoping that publicising its philanthropic efforts at this time will offset some of the negative press it has attracted over its activities in China.
At the end of January Google announced that it would launch versions of its search and news Web sites in China that censor material deemed objectionable to authorities there, arguing that users getting limited access to content was better than none.
Google.org is the umbrella term for Google's philanthropic efforts, which includes the work of the Google Foundation and some of Google's internal corporate philanthropy. The organisation focuses on several areas including global poverty, health, energy and the environment and has made over $7m (£4m) in investments and grants to date.