Google on Tuesday appointed a public health pioneer to head up, the internet search company’s nascent philanthropic arm.

Larry Brilliant, a medical doctor and founder and chairman of the Seva Foundation, a non-profit that has been at the forefront of efforts to combat blindness and other medical problems in the developing world, will take charge in early April.

Dr Brilliant, who has headed up two technology companies in addition to his philanthropic work, said: “We are trying to do something unique here [at Google]. It’s one part philanthropy and one part good stewardship of an organisation. It’s critical that we do things right.”

The appointment comes at a sensitive time for Google. The company, whose informal motto is “don’t be evil”, has come under fire in recent weeks for censoring its search engine results in China to appease Chinese authorities. Other internet companies like Yahoo have also been criticised for co-operating with China to censor the content available to Internet users.

Mr Brilliant declined to comment on the company’s dealings with China, but said he was looking forward to getting to know the “amazing number of dedicated people [at Google] who are thirsting to do something to change the world.” was created late last year as an umbrella group for Google’s philanthropic activities and has since made investments in groups such as Doctors Without Borders and the Make A Wish Foundation.

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