The ‘Sustainable With Google’ event on Oct 6 touched on many important issues related to climate change. The company has already pledged to have its data centers and campuses run carbon-free by 2030. Google now wants its customers to make wiser decisions to aid sustainable energy options.
The company is doing this with a handful of new updates to its apps and web services. Prominent among the new additions is travel-related. Users will start seeing carbon emissions information on Google Flights. This means users will have information on carbon emissions per seat on every flight while also finding alternative travel options with a lower carbon footprint.
Similarly, searching for hotels will pull up information on the establishment’s sustainability plans, including factors like water conservation and waste reduction. Google will also let users know if the hotels they’re booking are EarthCheck or Green Key certified.
As for Google Maps, the company is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to show users the most fuel-efficient routes for any given trip. Commuters will also find comparisons between the fastest and the most fuel-efficient routes. Google said (via) this feature is already available in the U.S., while European markets will reportedly get it in 2022.
Google Maps will bring a new Lite Navigation mode for cycling
Sticking to Maps, the company is also introducing a cyclist-oriented feature known as Lite Navigation. Here, cyclists will get relevant information such as the ETA, elevation on their route, trip progress, etc.
Lite Navigation is designed to make the important navigational data available without distracting the cyclist. Google also said that customers in more than 300 cities worldwide can now use Maps to locate scooter or bike-sharing services.
Google Search is gaining new filters to help customers pick between electric cars and gas-powered vehicles. Users can also get information on any potential federal or state rebates for a vehicle, thus allowing them to make an informed decision. These features will reflect on Google Search this year in the U.S., while other markets will reportedly follow next year.
Search will also aid customers looking for energy-efficient home appliances such as water heaters, dishwashers, stoves, furnaces, dryers, and so on. The company will highlight cost-effective and energy-efficient options. These changes are coming to the Shopping tab on Google Search this week.
Additionally, the company said that it would add a new search results page dedicated to information on climate change. The pages will be available in English, French, and Spanish with further information from reputed sources such as the United Nations.
Google also unveiled the new Nest Renew service that allows owners of Nest Thermostats to help in the fight against climate change. You can find more details on this new service from a story we covered earlier today.
The company is also working on AI-based traffic lights
The company briefly talked about its research on artificial intelligence to enhance the performance of traffic lights.
“We’ve been piloting this research in Israel to predict traffic conditions and improve the timing of when traffic lights change. So far, we are seeing a 10-20% reduction in fuel consumption and delay time at intersections. We’re excited to expand these pilots to Rio de Janeiro and beyond,” Google said in its release.
Lastly, Google is reportedly assisting its business customers, including Whirlpool, Etsy, HSBC, Unilever, and Salesforce to come up with new solutions for climate change challenges. This involves Google recommending cleaner locations to set up their Google Cloud resources. More information will be available at Google Cloud Next ’21, the company said.