Sidewalk Labs will be led by former Bloomberg LP CEO Dan Doctoroff and headquartered in New York City. Sidewalk Labs will be led by former Bloomberg LP CEO Dan Doctoroff and headquartered in New York City. Sidewalk Labs will be led by former Bloomberg LP CEO Dan Doctoroff and headquartered in New York City. (Photo: Songquan Deng/Shutterstock)

Google launches lab to improve city life

The internet giant hopes to develop technologies for better urban living.

From Tokyo to New York to Tel Aviv, Google is making no secret of its ambition to leave its mark on cities. The internet giant has launched Sidewalk Labs, 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."

Not much information was made available about the new project, but in a press release the company said it hopes Sidewalk Labs will impact urban environments by making transportation more efficient and lowering the cost of living, reducing energy usage and helping government operate more efficiently.

"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," Google CEO Larry Page wrote in a post on Google+.

Sidewalk Labs hopes to bring innovative ideas to urban areas from Tel Aviv (pictured) to New York, and cities in between.Sidewalk Labs hopes to bring innovative ideas and solutions to urban areas from Tel Aviv (pictured) to New York, and points in between. (Photo: ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock)

Google tapped Dan Doctoroff, the former CEO of Bloomberg LP and and Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Rebuilding for the City of New York, to run the Lab out of New York.

"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,” he said in a statement.

Google has been proactive in recent years in developing socially conscious technologies. It launched the Person Finder, developed at its office in Israel, that allows users to track people in disaster areas. And Google X, a development program located near its headquarters in Mountain View, California, which Page likened Sidewalk Labs to, has churned out contact lenses that monitor glucose in tears and a tremor-cancelling spoon for Parkinson's patients, among several other innovative technologies aimed at improving quality of life.

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