Google announced new features to Google Flights, Hotels, Maps and a new service called Nest Renew on Wednesday. These features aim to give users more information about the carbon footprint of their actions and hence, helping them make more sustainable choices.
Users can now see the carbon emission per seat for every flight on Google Flights and choose lower-carbon options. When you’re booking hotels, you’ll also see information on their sustainability efforts, once again helping users pick a more eco-friendly option. The company also announced several other features on Wednesday.
Google Maps will let users choose the most fuel-efficient route if it isn’t already the fastest one on the navigation side of things. The feature will roll out for users in the US on Wednesday and will come to Europe in 2022. Maps also bring lite navigation for cyclists, making it easier to find bikes and scooter shares in over 300 cities worldwide.
New measures to protect the planet
Here’s an in-depth breakdown of all the new features Google is putting out.
Sustainable travel and shopping
Wednesday onwards, users can see carbon-emission information per seat on every flight in Google Flights. This helps users compare seat options and find a lower carbon-emitting one. Similarly, when booking hotels, users will now see a hotel’s sustainability effort information from waste reduction and water conservation measures to whether they’re Green Key or EarthCheck certified.
Suggestions in the shopping tab on Google Search will now prioritise more cost-effective and sustainable options when looking for energy-intensive appliances like dishwashers, furnaces or water heaters.
Smart homes get smarter
Google is also launching a new service called Nest Renew. This uses a feature called Energy Shift which helps compatible Nest thermostats automatically shift electricity usage for heating or cooling to times when energy is cleaner or less expensive.
For people who want to do more, there’ a premium subscription for the same service called Renew Premium, which will match users’ fossil fuel electricity at home with renewable energy credits generated from the same projects in Google’s energy portfolio.
New ways to get around
As mentioned before, Google Maps will now find the most fuel-efficient way to get around in a car if it isn’t already the fastest one. The company estimates that this could save over one million tons of carbon emissions per year — the equivalent of removing over 200,000 cars from the road all while saving users money in terms of fuel costs. This feature will roll out in the US on Wednesday and will come to Europe in 2022.
Maps also introduces lite navigation for cyclists, making it easier to find bikes and scooter shares in over 300 cities worldwide.
On Google Search, the company is also making it easier to see hybrid and electric vehicle options while comparing them to gas-powered equivalents and finding rebates, so users know the actual costs before making a decision. These features will start rolling out in the US later this year, with more coming in 2022.
The company is also piloting research in Israel to predict traffic conditions and change the timing of traffic lights. So far, there’s a 10-20% reduction in fuel consumption and delay time at intersections, as noted by Google. This research is now expanding to Rio de Janerio and beyond.
Lastly, the company recently launched tools to help businesses choose cleaner regions to locate their Google Cloud resources. The company plans to announce more ways for companies to be sustainable at next week’s Google Cloud Next ’21.
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