Today, Google quietly ushered in a new application built on top of its nonprofit arm, Google.org. The app is called One Today, and it’s currently invite only for Android users at this time. The aim is to get people to donate $1 to different organizations, while getting the complete information about how your donation will be used up front. This is a huge stumbling block for nonprofits usually, as people are afraid that their money won’t actually get spent on making a real difference. One Today aims to change that.
Additionally, One Today has a social component to it, letting you set a cap to how much money you’ll match if your friends donate to a cause. By using Google Wallet, you can simply pay off your “donation balance” once all of your friends have used up your cap. It’s a pretty interesting way of crowdsourcing donations. When I talk to people about giving money to causes, the first problem they have is that they can’t find one that they’re passionate about. By allowing you to put the choice of who to donate in your friends’ hands, this problem simply goes away and there’s no excuse not to give. You don’t have to involve others though, as you can participate by yourself or interact with the app’s community.
Currently, the landing page allows you to request an invite, even though the app itself is available for download on Google Play. If you open the app, you’re shown the invite screen yet again and there’s no word on when One Today will start opening itself up to users and donations.
Some other interesting aspects of the app are that it’s populated only with nonprofits that Google.org is currently working with, so you know that they’re pre-screened. Other sites, such as Causes, are filled up with organizations that have little or no information about itself or what is done with the money that they’re raising. That’s clearly not the case with this app, according to the programs that will be pre-populated:
Organizations can also register to be included.
From the looks of the app screenshots, One Today seems extremely polished and well thought out. This is an app that Google hopes you use daily:
The reason for putting this together is addressed in the app’s FAQ:
Google has a long-standing commitment to supporting nonprofits and to do doing good. One Today makes fundraising easy for nonprofits, it also makes giving simple and fun for users.
But yes, Google does collect a 1.9 percent credit card fee, but that’s not much considering that it takes care of the processing and donation routing for you. These donations are also tax deductible, of course.
The idea of accepting one dollar at a time is easy enough for anyone to chew on, and get into the rhythm of daily giving, which could be a more rewarding experience than giving a lump sum to just one charity every year, for example. As you donate more, the app will start recommending other organizations that might interest you, which is a Google Play app-like purchasing experience. When you tap “give,” it’s actually a pledge, and you’ll be notified to settle your balance once you’ve pledged to a few organizations.
With this approach, micro-donations could actually catch on and raise more money for these nonprofits than ever. In many situations, it’s not the actual amount that you donate, it’s the awareness that your social actions bring. One Today is an amplification tool, and it will be interesting to see how the project evolves once it opens to the masses.
The company revealed in a blog post that it had signed an agreement to purchase iProvo, the city’s existing fiber-optic network. Google is committing to bringing the network up to gigabit speeds and ensure that all homes currently connected to iProvo will get Google Fiber when it arrives.
The deal has yet to be finalized, though, as the Provo City Council is set to vote on it next week. Google Fiber representatives will be participating in community meetings this week to hear from residents.
If approved, Google will offer free Internet access at 5 Mbps speeds for seven years to residents along the network, with a $30 activation fee, alongside its gigabit Internet and TV plans. The company would also provide free gigabit access to 25 local organizations, including schools, hospitals and libraries.
Google Fiber arrived first in Kansas City last fall, boasting speeds as much as 100 times faster than average broadband connections.
Image credit: Spike Mafford
Cheers, the app and social network built around giving users the chance to celebrate the good things in their lives, has raised a $2.5 million Series A funding round led by MindFund and including Charles River Ventures, Trinity Ventures, AngelList founder Naval Ravikant and others. The startup launched just over a year ago in February, and is still very much experimenting with its positivity-based social network, according to founder Farhad Mohit.
The funding will help Cheers continue to explore and expand that experiment, Mohit says, and build on recent additions to the platform. This includes the addition of “Celebrations,” a feature introduced in an update a few weeks ago that allows users to build collections that are open to community contribution about any topic. This new feature was designed to address an audience focus issue by giving users ways to find and engage with content they’re specifically interested in, instead of having to wade through the firehose of the general feed.
The Cheers app is similar in concept to apps like Oink, the Kevin Rose project that closed up shop not long after launch after it failed to attract much of an audience. While Mohit admits that the membership numbers aren’t quite where Cheers would like them to be, he still feels the app is now doing something fundamentally different from Oink and others, and addressing a problem that still needs tackling. The key will be continuing to evolve the app’s approach in order to get it to the point where it’s striking a chord with a broader user base.
“If you look at the kinds of decisions that need to be made, there are several layers,” Mohit (who previously founded BizRate) explained. “There’s the purchase layer, when you want to decide whether or not to buy from somebody. For those, BizRate and its ilk were very satisfactory. Then one level above is sort of vendor choice. That’s where Yelp comes in. They [Cheers and Oink] come in at the awareness level – they help you decide whether something is even on your radar to consider.”
Other services in this category have failed because “they failed to realize what this simple text and picture and information is really good for.” They’re not good for comparison, he said. They’re good for generating awareness. Cheers, if it accomplishes its mission, will succeed by enabling a lot of fans and followers of things to create awareness about the people, places and locations that its network members are favoriting, instead of acting as localized, limited-scope comparison tools on the ground around specific locations.
To do that, Cheers hopes to eventually become a funnel for brands looking for sponsored content. The idea is that with Celebrations, brands can curate content from actual users and fans that is positive in nature while at the same time being genuine and spontaneous. It is essentially tailor-made for use in social media campaigns like Facebook promoted stories.
Cheers has a couple of advantages for organizations and groups. It provokes the kind of engagement you can see here in a Celebration called Starbucks, which was started by a user – not anyone associated with the brand. And the network is remarkably good at self-filtering, maintaining an overwhelmingly positive vibe. Mohit says that’s mostly due to the company’s dedicated core users, rather than any direct influence on the part of Cheers or its employees. Brands will soon be able to take advantage of tools designed for organizations on Cheers, Mohit says, which is in part what the funding is designed to help with.
Mohit is surprisingly candid about Cheers and the startup’s chances, saying that this Series A is mostly designed to set the company up to see if there should be a Series B or not. The company has an excellent model for helping organizations turn their biggest fans into a fount of quality user-generated advertising. Now it just needs the user-acquisition strategy to make that happen on a larger scale.
With hacking and malware on the rise, Europe is cracking down on cybersecurity: today the European Commission, working with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, is launching a new cybersecurity strategy along with a proposed directive on how to implement it (both embedded below). Among other things, the directive calls for each member state of the EU to set up “CERT”s — Computer Emergency Response Teams — to deal with hacking and malware crises, along with plans for how to deal with major incidents; and it wants also to put more pressure on private companies in different vertical sectors like banking to be more forthcoming in reporting major breaches.
Points like these could prove to be sensitive issues because of the costs for implementing them; and the potential damage the publicity around breaches could cause for affected organizations.
“Sometimes companies want to avoid [publicity on breaches],” admitted Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, today. “But you can’t say that it is unique when you have a breach, it is normal, so no reason you should not be mentioning it and learning from it.”
Kroes is due to hold a press conference with Catherine Ashton, EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Cecilia Malmstrom, Member of the EC in charge of Home Affairs, to present the strategy and directive. The work builds on findings released by ENISA, the European Network and Information Security Agency, in January, that detailed trends in the biggest cyberthreats of the moment, and who is affected most.
We’ll be watching that and updating the story accordingly, but as we understand it, here are the main points that will be covered in the strategy, whose objective is to generally improve cybersecurity across Europe, laying the groundwork for more ICT investments from public and private organizations longer-term:
– Each member state must set up a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT).
– Each member state must nominate a competent authority to deal with network and information security, where companies would report breaches. These authorities need to put in place plans for dealing with major incidents. (Not clear whether these authorities will be public organizations or whether they can be run by private firms.)
– These national authorities will be required to form a network and to work with ENISA to lift overall security.
– Specific sectors like banking, transport, energy, health, Internet companies and public administrations must adopt risk management practices and report major incidents. TechCrunch understands this is an extension of existing scheme in Framework Directive for e-communications.
“The goal is to support Member States to get better at cybersecurity, not dictate the exact methods for achieving this outcome,” a spokesperson noted in an email on the directive.
With the cybersecurity proposals coming in at the same time that the EU is debating wider budget negotiations, those who are keen to put the directive in place argue that Europe has not done enough to date when it comes to its Internet safety, and that this will have an impact longer term when it comes to investments in ICT in Europe.
At the moment ICT accounts for 5% of GDP in the EU and is growing, but proposed EU budget spend for ICT is just 2.5% of the region’s overall budget, equivalent to 0.02% of GDP in the EU. “If ICT spending falls below 2% of the MFF we fall below what developing countries invest in ICT,” a spokesperson for Kroes noted in an email.
Update: From the press conference: “The principles we hold offline should be the same as those we hold online. It has to remain free and open,” said Ashton, “but we have to recognize responsibility.” She also mentioned that working on cybercrime will involve coordination between civilian and military organizations. Asked on how the military fits into this: she later noted that NATO and other organizations would be involved.
“Internet is very important for our economy and values,” said Kroes. “We are all aware of the phishing scams… and natural disasters like storms. We need to protect our networks and make them resilient.”
There were also questions probing on how much member states are able to negotiate with other governments such as China’s: China is among the countries from which many attacks allegedly originate. Kroes would not comment on these individual discussions but this issue could prove to be a lever for states and businesses that claim that doing more at home will only work if there is cooperation with organizations further afield — and that they should need to invest in their end of the deal until the others start to play ball.
As part of a collaboration between government and non government organizations, I have been tasked with finding a developer to create and deliver a website in a short time frame. For this reason my group has decided to go with WordPress (or simila…
Category: IT & Programming > Web Programming
Type and Budget: Fixed price ( $1,000 – $5,000) Escrow
Time Left: 6 d, 22 h (Ends Feb 8, 2013 16:27 pm ET)
Start Date: Feb 1, 2013
Proposals: 5 (High $3,288, Low $2,959, Avg $3,123)
Client Info: 1 jobs posted, 0% awarded, $0 total purchased, Payment Method Not Verified
Client Location: , Canada
Preferred Job Location: Anywhere
Desired Skills: Joomla! PHP WordPress Technical Support
Job ID: 37432688