Google is doling out millions of dollars all with an eye toward using technology to increase independence for the world’s billion people with disabilities.

The company’s charitable arm, Google.org, said this week that it has selected 30 organizations to receive grants through its “Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities” initiative.

All told, Google is distributing more than $20 million to groups located in 13 different countries through the effort.

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The largest grant of $1.4 million will go to The Arc to create an online tool to help people with cognitive disabilities find the right apps and other assistive technologies to meet goals based on their profile.

Other groups receiving funds include the Dan Marino Foundation, which will develop an interactive job training program for people with autism, and APAE Brasil, which will use SMS messaging to share information and improve monitoring and evaluation for families who have children with developmental disabilities.

While GPS helps those with visual impairments find their destination, the technology doesn't lead to specific spots like doors or bus stops. Using a $750,000 grant from Google, the Perkins School for the Blind plans to crowdsource data to help bridge that gap in directions. (Google.org)

While GPS helps those with visual impairments find their destination, the technology doesn’t lead to specific spots like doors or bus stops. Using a $750,000 grant from Google, the Perkins School for the Blind plans to crowdsource data to help bridge that gap in directions. (Google.org)

“The organizations we’re supporting all have big ideas for how technology can help create new solutions, and each of their ideas has the potential to scale,” Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink, project lead for the Google.org initiative, said in a blog post.

“Each organization has also committed to open sourcing their technology — which helps encourage and speed up innovation in a sector that has historically been siloed,” she indicated.

Google said it received more than 1,000 applications from 88 countries after announcing the funding availability last May.