When it comes to revenue, Google is primarily an online ad business. But the company proved again on Wednesday that it wants to be known for much more than that.
In a blog post, CEO Larry Page announced that Google (GOOG) is starting a new company aimed at improving city living. Sidewalk Labs, Page said, will tackle that challenge “by developing and incubating urban technologies to address issues like cost of living, efficient transportation and energy usage.” He also hinted at the kinds of technologies the company might create, citing examples like dashboards that measure and visualize traffic patterns, and building tools that allow city residents to instantly give feedback on municipal services.
The new company, to be led by former Bloomberg CEO Dan Doctoroff, will be based in New York City. A Sidewalk Labs release says the company aims to sit at the intersection of the ongoing global urban migration and the world’s expanding connectivity that allows cities and citizens to address problems in real time. The company listed efficient transportation, lowering the cost of living, reducing energy usage, and effective government operations as problems that have been hard to address despite advancements in technology. “Sidewalk Labs will develop new products, platforms and partnerships to make progress in these area,” the statement says.
“As more and more people around the world live, work and settle in cities, the opportunities for improving our urban environments are endless,” Page said in his post.
The new project is reminiscent of two current Google offshoots: Google X, which is responsible for advanced technologies like the company’s self-driving car and drone delivery service, and Calico, which is studying the biology of aging.