Google is now aiming to enhance city life with its newly launched program, Sidewalk Labs. According to CEO Larry Page, the initiative will combine technology and innovation to improve urban life as the U.S. population migrates toward cities.
Google quiet on funding details
The program will be supervised by former deputy mayor of New York Dan Doctoroff and aims to improve city life by developing urban technologies to deal with issues such as cost of living, energy usage and efficient transportation. Doctoroff will utilize his experience of managing cities and funds from Google to work towards the desired objectives. According to Doctoroff, concerns regarding the issues like urban equity, costs, health and the environment are continuously increasing, and an extraordinary technological development is essential to making cities more efficient and resilient.
Google has not revealed much detail about the money it plans to provide the ex-mayor with for this project. However, Page claimed that the company has invested a “modest” amount in the project and compared it with their research lab, Google X, and Calico, which is a Google-funded company that emphasizes health and well-being. Moreover, he added that it is difficult for most companies to make investments like this, “but [Google co-founder] Sergey [Brin] and I have always believed that it’s important,” Page wrote in a post on Google+.
Problems in urban cities are interdependent
A lot of cities throughout the globe have already made significant progress in some of the specified areas, such as creating dashboards to visualize and evaluate traffic patterns and other features that allow inhabitants to quickly assess city services and provide feedback on them. However, Page believes that with the increasing number of people moving to work and settle in cities, there is a lot of scope for improvements in the urban environment.
Also according to Page, a lot of problems in cities are interdependent. For instance, accessibility of transportation depends on the area where people choose to live which, in turn, influences the price of houses and the quality of life. Thus, it would be essential to figure out the core reason of the problems and to have an idea of the many aspects that have an effect on urban life.
Sidewalk Labs marks another ambitious project by the search giant, which for some time has been associated with programs such as self-driving cars and high-altitude balloons to provide Internet connectivity.