Bill Gates has questioned whether Google's Project Loon, an effort to bring giant internet-giving balloons to less-developed countries, is really that good of an idea. During an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Gates was asked whether he thought bringing internet to parts of the world would help solve problems. "When you're dying of malaria, I suppose you'll look up and see that balloon, and I'm not sure how it'll help you."
"When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there's no website that relieves that."
Gates' nonprofit organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has worked extensively to try to rid developing nations of malaria. "When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there's no website that relieves that," he continued, "certainly I'm a huge believer in the digital revolution. And connecting up primary-health-care centers, connecting up schools, those are good things. But no, those are not, for the really low-income countries, unless you directly say we're going to do something about malaria."
Project Loon segment from On The Verge
"Actors who just do their core thing are not going to uplift the poor."
Gates also expressed disappointment in Google's other charity work. The search giant operates Google.org, a not-for-profit arm that "develops technologies to help address global challenges." Gates' issue appears to be the narrow scope of Google's efforts. "Google started out saying they were going to do a broad set of things. They hired [former Google.org leader] Larry Brilliant, and they got fantastic publicity. And then they shut it all down. Now they're just doing their core thing. Fine. But the actors who just do their core thing are not going to uplift the poor."