Google Sidewalk Labs Tackles Herculean Task Of Making Cities More Efficient

Google is on a mission to improve cities across the United States. Whether it be ensuring that residents have access to more affordable housing, improving public transportation, reducing pollution, or even constructing safer biking paths, Google wants to help, and it plans to do that through the formation of a new company called Sidewalk Labs.

The new venture is described as an urban innovation company that will develop technology at the intersection of the physical and digital worlds, with a focus on improving city life for residents, businesses, and governments. That's a bit of a broad stroke, which is intentional as Google doesn't want to limit what kinds of urban problems it can tackle.

Sidewalk Labs

"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," Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page stated on his Google+ page.

Heading up the new company will be Dan Doctoroff, former boss of Bloomberg and Deputy Mayer of Economic Development and Rebuilding for the City of New York. Sidewalk Labs will combine his experience in building and managing cities with funding and support from Google.

Technology will obviously play a major role in the initiative. It's not yet known what immediate projects Sidewalk Labs will take on, though Page talked about progress in other parts of the world where there are dashboards to measure and visualize traffic patterns, and tools to let residents instantly evaluate and provide feedback on city services.