Google's Newest Venture Aims To Improve City Life

Chris CrumBusiness

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Google just started a new company called Sidewalk Labs with the mission of improving life in cities "for everyone through the application of technology to solve urban problems."

The project will be run by Dan Doctoroff, the former CEO of Bloomberg LP and Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Rebuilding for the City of New York. He will serve as CEO, and will combine his experience in building and managing cities with Google's funding and support.

Sidewalk Labs will develop products, platforms, and partnerships to make progress in areas like transportation, lowering the cost of living, reducing energy usage, and helping government operate more efficiently.

"We are at the beginning of a historic transformation in cities," said Doctoroff. "At a time when the concerns about urban equity, costs, health and the environment are intensifying, unprecedented technological change is going to enable cities to be more efficient, responsive, flexible and resilient. We hope that Sidewalk will play a major role in developing technology products, platforms and advanced infrastructure that can be implemented at scale in cities around the world.”

Google CEO Larry Page compared the endeavor to previously launched Google efforts like Google[x] and Calico, the company it started in 2013 to take on aging, in that it's aim is to improve people's lives, and will be a relatively moderate investment for the company. He called it a "long-term, 10X bet."

"By improving urban technology, it’s possible to significantly improve the lives of billions of people around the world," said Page. "With Sidewalk, we want to supercharge existing efforts in areas such as housing, energy, transportation and government to solve real problems that city-dwellers face every day. Every time I talk with Dan I feel an amazing sense of opportunity because of his passion for all the ways technology can help transform cities to be more livable, flexible and vibrant. And when you combine that with his experience as an investor, in NYC government, and as CEO of the large information company Bloomberg LP, I can’t imagine a better person to lead these efforts.”

Page also discussed the efforts further on Google+. Here's the full post:


The New York Times has more on Sidewalk Labs from interviewing Doctoroff.

Image via Sidewalk Labs

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.