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Google Inc’s Sidewalk Labs aims to improve urban living


Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has announced a new urban innovation venture called ‘Sidewalk Labs’ that will aim to improve lives of urban dwellers in the US and other parts of the world. Google has brought in former deputy mayor of economic development and rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff to head the Sidewalk venture.google-sidewalk

Sidewalk Labs will focus on things like cost of living, transportation in cities with the view of creating favorable changes. At the I/O developer conference, Google made several announcements, including this new venture, aimed at improving urban lives. Google will tackle problems like energy usage, transportation, cost of living and making government operations easier. These areas are still difficult to tackle in several areas, despite the penetration of technology.

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Though technology has been able to improve traffic control, media and commerce, it is yet to make an impact in the cost of living, cutting energy usage and improving government efficiency. Google Inc aims to focus on these areas, but it remains unclear as to how it will implement these problems. Sidewalk  Labs will be based in New York. Google Inc. CEO Larry Page has described ‘Sidewalk Labs‘ as a relatively modest investment, but he is confident about the success of its operations.

Google has not revealed how much it has invested in the new venture. Sidewalk’s strategy will include building new technologies and new partnerships. Doctoroff has six years of experience in managing issues as urban mayor while Google will provide technical experience for the project. Sidewalk Labs is likely to follow the model of Google-backed Calico, established in 2013. Google CEO Larry Page stated:

While this is a relatively modest investment and very different from Google’s core business, it’s an area where I hope we can really improve people’s lives, similar to Google[x] and Calico. Making long-term, 10X bets like this is hard for most companies to do, but Sergey and I have always believed that it’s important. And as more and more people around the world live, work and settle in cities, the opportunities for improving our urban environments are endless. Now it’s time to hit the streets and get to work!

In September 2014, Calico and AbbVie announced their partnership in a research center  in San Francisco Bay Area to study the diseases that affect elderly and aging. Director of N.Y.U urban science center Steve E. Koonin stated that it is great to see an ambitious private sector initiative like this recognize that cities are important.

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A movie buff, a bookworm, and a compulsive doodler. All posts by Anirudh

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