Google announces new “Sidewalk Labs” to improve city life


Google chief Larry Page has just announced the launch of something called Sidewalk Labs, which is an “urban innovation company” that aims to improve city life by using technology. Page says that the new company will develop and incubate urban technologies to address issues such as the cost of living, efficient transportation and energy use.

Sidewalk Labs will be run by a Googler called Dan Doctoroff (sounds like a James Bond villain to us), the former CEO of Bloomberg and the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Rebuilding for New York City. Seems like he has the necessary chops then, to tackle this ambitious project.

Sidewalk Labs is Googles new “moonshot” project

Of course, for anyone living in Thailand, this doesn’t really affect them much, but it’s certainly interesting to hear how the western world is moving along with such radical projects.

There’s already a website at which calls for a rethink on city design.

“By 2050, the population in cities will double, intensifying existing socioeconomic, public health and environmental problems. At the same time, innovations in technology can be used to design communities that are more efficient, responsive and resilient.”

Google Sidewalk Labs - Bladerunner

There is also an accompanying press release, saying that Sidewalk Labs will work on “making transportation more efficient and lowering the cost of living, reducing energy usage and helping government operate more efficiently” and that it will “develop new products, platforms and partnerships to make progress in these areas.”

The press release highlights “ubiquitous connectivity and sharing, the internet of things, dynamic resource management and flexible buildings and infrastructure” as technologies that can help with improving city life.

The whole thing is however rather vague, but Page says the company is “making long-term, 10X bets”, so we probably won’t see any news or new products anytime soon…

SOURCE: Google.


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