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Google Gets Brilliant

Google this week hired Dr. Larry Brilliant to lead the company's philanthropic arm, Google.org. Besides his work in public health (he helped eliminate smallpox in India), Brilliant has a technical background, having founded the early online community the Well and Wi-Fi company Cometa. This diversity should help set the direction for Google.org, a $1 billion charitable foundation.

Brilliant has the opportunity to push the unspoken corollary to Google's "Don't Be Evil" motto—"Be Good." While many have criticized Google's move to create a censored version of its search site in China, Brilliant's efforts with Google.org could at least help counterbalance the negativity resulting from such business moves.

Fast Company has long supported social capitalists, of course. But is the hiring of Brilliant purely good? Mostly PR? Or can it be both?