Google updates Maps, Search, Shopping, Nest for sustainability – .

Google updates Maps, Search, Shopping, Nest for sustainability – .

Since Wednesday, the ecological routing of Google Maps has been online in the United States
Photo courtesy of Google
Google on Wednesday launched a series of changes to several of its core products to help consumers make sustainable choices more easily.
“Today, climate change is more than a threat,” Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and parent company Alphabet, said in a pre-recorded video at a virtual press event Tuesday. “It is a real and present danger. From forest fires and floods to more frequent and violent storms, climate change is the most profound risk we face, a risk that affects our health, our economies and our future together on this planet. “

Google is a leader in sustainability. It became carbon neutral in 2007, which means it bought offsets to balance all carbon-emitting energy sources since then., and pledged to operate on carbon-free energy by 2030.

“That means every question you ask Google, every email you send, every YouTube video you watch will be delivered without emitting carbon in the air,” Pichai said. “We see this as moonlight” – a long-term bet that could have a big impact.

With the suite of product updates, Google hopes to make sustainability an easier choice, Pichai said.

Here are the changes Google is making to its products. Some of these updates are available from Wednesday and others are still in progress.

Google Maps: routes that consume less fuel

Google Maps will default to the most eco-friendly route when the time needed to complete the trip is about the same as it would be without accounting for carbon emissions. This product update was announced in March, but it takes effect in the United States from Wednesday and in Europe in 2022.
Google Maps calculates fuel consumption based on the incline of the road, traffic jams and traffic forecasts, said Sarah-Jayne Williams, director of Google Maps.

To make these routing recommendations, Google has partnered with the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab, Williams said at the event on Tuesday.

If it takes significantly longer to reach your destination on the more environmentally friendly route, then customers will be able to choose between the faster or the more sustainable route, Williams said.

“We believe this feature will have the same impact next year as taking over 200,000 cars off the road,” Pichai said.

Additionally, Google Maps is partnering with companies like Bird and Donkey Republic to expand bike and scooter sharing information to 300 cities around the world, including Berlin, New York, Sao Paolo, and Taipei.

With this update, released Wednesday, you can find bike and scooter sharing stations nearby and “even see how many vehicles are available in real time,” Williams said. The update will also indicate where bicycle and scooter parking is available.

Google Travel: Carbon emissions with flight information

Since Wednesday, Google has been providing information on carbon emissions directly to Google Flights.

Courtesy of Google

Google will display the carbon emissions associated with a theft in search results, said Stephanie Horton, chief marketing officer for Google Commerce. This feature launches globally on Wednesday for almost all flights.

“We put these numbers into context by labeling flights that have significantly higher emissions and adding a green badge to flights with significantly lower emissions,” Horton said in a pre-recorded video Tuesday.

The carbon emissions will take into account the type of aircraft and will also be specific to the seat. Business class and first class seats cause more carbon emissions because they take up more space, Horton said. American Airlines and Lufthansa will provide fuel consumption data to help Google validate its emissions information, a Google spokesperson said. Flight search platform Kayak, a unit of Booking Holdings, launched a tool earlier this year that allows travelers to sort flights by shows.

Google also aims to help consumers make sustainable choices about where they stay when they travel.

Over the past decade, the number of Google searches for “eco-hotel” has doubled, Horton said, so hotel search results will indicate whether “a hotel has made significant commitments to sustainable practices. “.

Specifically, hotels will appear in search results with a badge next to their name if they have received third-party certifications from Earth Check or Green Key, she said. This feature launched on September 22.

Google is coordinating with the Travalyst Coalition to create an open model for calculating the carbon emissions of a flight or hotel stay to “bring standardization across the industry,” said Horton.

Information on energy consumption in purchasing results

Starting Wednesday in the United States, Google Shopping will recommend cost-effective and sustainable options when shoppers search for energy-hungry devices, like ovens or water heaters.

Photo courtesy of Google

Google will make suggestions on the purchase results of energy-intensive products such as ovens, dishwashers and water heaters that provide information on the sustainability of a purchase, Horton said. This feature will be rolled out in the United States on Wednesday.

In addition, from the start of next year, Google search will make it easier for customers who buy a new car to make an eco-friendly choice.

First, Google will flag hybrid and electric cars and manufacturers to make them easier to find, Williams said.

Additionally, Google search will display information on discounts for a hybrid or electric vehicle, nearby compatible charging stations, and typical charging times, Williams said.

These car purchasing information tools, along with the one that will display total energy costs and car emissions information, will begin rolling out this year, with more features coming in 2022, Williams said.

“At the heart of all of today’s updates is the concept of choice,” said Williams. “By helping people understand when more sustainable routes, modes or cars are available, we empower them to choose the option that best suits their lifestyle. “

Research results: More attention to the climate

Later in October, the information search results for climate change queries will appear in a new presentation, Horton said. This feature will be available in English, French and Spanish.

“This new layout will display relevant information and advice from authoritative sources like the United Nations, including concise explanations of the causes of climate change, its effects and even the actions you can take to live a better life. sustainable, like using energy efficient devices or taking public transit publicly, ”said Horton.

Google is also launching a feature that shows a company’s sustainability score along with its stock ticker and current price. The sustainability score comes from the Climate Disclosure Project, Google said.

Google Nest will change usage when energy is cleaner

automatically shift your electricity consumption for heating and cooling to times when your network is cleaner or cheaper. Consumers receive a monthly impact report.

Photo courtesy of Google

A new feature in the Google Nest thermostat called Energy Shift automatically changes the energy times for heating and cooling when the energy is cleaner, Ben Brown, director of product management at Nest, said in the Google press video. published Tuesday.

“This flexibility is key to making better use of clean energy in your area,” Brown said.

For example, the Energy Shift function will take into account the energy supply from clean sources, such as wind and solar. Some utility companies charge more for energy during peak hours, and the Nest Energy Shift feature will automatically use energy at the cheapest times, Brown said.

If they wish, customers will be able to override automatic sustainability decisions and manually control their Nest thermostat system.

For $ 10 per month, Nest customers can choose to be part of the Nest Renew Premium program, which will offset any carbon-emitting fossil-fuel energy consumption in the home with renewable energy credits.

“So you can be sure that every time you use electricity in your home, whether it’s to turn on the light, run the washing machine or watch TV, it supports clean energy sources,” he said. Brown said.

Updates to the Nest Thermostat will roll out in the coming weeks in a preview schedule.

Future projects: timed stop lights and tree canopy mapping

So far, Google has conducted pilot projects to increase the efficiency of traffic lights at four locations in Israel in partnership with the municipalities of Haifa, Beer Sheva and Israel National Roads Company.

Photo courtesy of Google

Google has also teased a few projects that it is still piloting that are not yet widely available.

For example, Google is working on a research project to optimize the efficiency of traffic lights across an entire city, Kate Brandt, Chief Sustainability Officer, told a pre-recorded press briefing.

“Ineffective traffic lights are bad for the environment, and they are bad for public health. It’s because idling cars… means wasted fuel and more street level air pollution, ”she said.

So far, Google’s traffic light research team has conducted pilot projects at four sites in Israel, Brandt said. These pilots have resulted in a 10-20% reduction in fuel consumption and time spent at intersections. The next pilot of this project will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In addition, Google uses artificial intelligence and aerial imagery to see where trees are in cities and where tree cover is lacking. The beta project is called Tree Canopy Insights.


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