Google’s Director of Product Management, Hunter Walk, who works specifically on YouTube, just gave Bloomberg a brief insight into his latest project made possible by the company’s famous 20 percent time.

Walk manages roughly a dozen engineers at YouTube, but he also utilizes Google’s 20 percent time—a time Google freely allots to employees every week for side projects— to mold YouTube into a platform for social causes and change, and not just a resource for endless cat videos.

“There is a real desire for YouTube to be a global classroom and a global town square, not just a global living room,” said Walker to Bloomberg in an interview.

According to Bloomberg:

Over the past year, Walk has been quietly evangelizing within Google for his initiative called YouTube for Good. He has convinced about a fifth of YouTube’s 1,000 or so employees, as well as some from Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, to set aside a chunk of their time to build online tools used by organizations including the United Nations World Food Program and Charity: Water.

YouTube for Good also made it possible to live stream last year’s AIDS symposium by the ONE Campaign, and it developed innovative tools like automatic face blurring to protect protest activists in YouTube videos. Aside from YouTube for Good, Google Reader, Gmail, and Google News are a few of the many successful side projects created with Google’s 20 percent time program.

Go to Bloomberg for the full report. 

(Image via GigaOm)

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