It's generally understood that Google's free products like Search, Gmail, and many others are supported by advertising. What is not as well known is that, in addition to providing useful products to our users, Google is a platform for and a partner to small businesses across America.

This morning David Fischer, our VP for Global Online Sales and Operations, will testify before the U.S. House Small Business Committee to explain just how Google has become an engine of economic growth and opportunity for hundreds of thousands of small businesses.

In his testimony, David will talk about how Google AdWords enables small businesses of all kinds to place ads for their products and services next to Google search results, giving them access to millions of our users around the world. Small businesses can set their own ad budgets and can arrange to pay only when users click on an ad. As a result, these businesses able to find and connect with new customers more efficiently and cost-effectively.

In addition to helping small businesses find customers and grow, Google's AdSense program has enabled web publishers, an entirely new generation of small businesses, to emerge and thrive on the Internet. As David's testimony puts it,

Our business model enables entrepreneurs, educators, bloggers, and many others to generate revenue by sharing their expertise and opinions with the world. In many cases, these individuals are able to dedicate themselves full-time to their publications because of the support they receive from our advertising programs.

The impact of Google's technology on the small business economy is significant. In 2007, for example, we paid $4.5 billion to AdSense partners who use our ads to earn money from their websites.

Behind those numbers are the real stories of people like Regina Fagan:

One of our Harlem, New York-based advertisers, Grandma's Secrets, has used our advertising tools to gain customers in the region where it delivers baked goods. A minority-owned business, Grandma's Secrets was started in 2001 when Regina Fagan built a website to capitalize on the love for baking she developed as a young child. By targeting her Google advertisements to the New York area, Regina has been able to turn a monthly Google advertising budget of $25 into $4,000 a month in revenue.

And as it turns out, Regina was able to use this revenue to purchase her first home and fulfill a lifelong dream of taking her daughter to Paris.

Finally, David will highlight the fact that small business success stories like Regina's are a powerful testament to the importance of maintaining a free and open Internet. The Internet's freedom and openness gave Google a chance to succeed when it was a brand new business, and it is giving hundreds of thousands of American small businesses today a chance to compete and thrive on the web as well.

UPDATE: Check out video below of David Fischer's testimony: