Google Announces Ambitious Smart Cities Project

sidewalk labsGoogle CEO Larry Page has announced a new initiative by the company aimed at using technology to improve the life of those living in cities and urban areas.

Sidewalk Labs, which will be led by Dan Doctoroff, former CEO of  Bloomberg, will focus on tackling issues such as energy usage, transportation and cost of living on a larger scale than current solutions work on.

“We are at the beginning of a historic transformation in cities,” said Doctoroff. “We hope that Sidewalk will play a major role in developing technology products, platforms and advanced infrastructure that can be implemented at scale in cities around the world.”

Doctoroff has also served as the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Rebuilding for the City of New York, experience which will presumably help when it comes to developing solutions for urban life.

“Many cities around the world have already made a lot of progress in some of these areas – for instance, developing dashboards to measure and visualise traffic patterns, and building tools that let resident instantly evaluate and provide feedback on city service,” said Page in a blog post detailing the project.

“But a lot of urban challenges are interrelated – for example, availability of transportation affects where people choose to live, which affects housing prices, which affects quality of life. So it helps to start from first principles and get a big-picture view of the many factors that affect city life. Then, you can develop the technologies and partnerships you need to make a difference.”

While Google has made only a “relatively modest investment” in the project, it is hoping that the companys scale and innovative thinking can lead to big changes, and Page seems very optimistic about the developments the company can usher in.