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Google launches city sidewalk labs

Google launches city sidewalk labs

By LARRY PAGE, cofounder & CEO, Google Inc. | June 15, 2015

Many of you are reading this post while living in a city. And you can probably think of a ton of ways you’d like your city to be better—more affordable housing, better public transport, less pollution, more parks and green spaces, safer biking paths, a shorter commute... the list goes on!

Many cities around the world have already made a lot of progress in some of these areas—for instance, developing dashboards to measure and visualize traffic patterns, and building tools that let residents instantly evaluate and provide feedback on city services. 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.

So I’m very excited about Sidewalk Labs, a new company we’ve announced today (June 10). The labs will focus on improving city life for everyone by developing and incubating urban technologies to address issues like cost of living, efficient transportation and energy usage.  (For more, see the press release here.)

Sidewalk will focus on improving city life for everyone by developing and incubating urban technologies to address issues like cost of living, efficient transportation and energy usage.

The company will be led by Dan Doctoroff, former CEO of Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Rebuilding for the City of New York. Every time I talk with Dan, I feel an amazing sense of opportunity because of all the ways technology can help transform cities to be more livable, flexible and vibrant. I also want to thank Adrian Aoun who helped to bring Dan on board.

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 GoogleX and Calico. Making long-term, 10X bets like this is hard for most companies to do, but (cofounder) Sergey Brin 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!

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