Google said on Wednesday it was tweaking the tools widely used for getting around, shopping and more to enable users to factor climate change into their daily routines.
Google is among the big tech companies that have made commitments and investments to reduce the environmental impact of their operations with measures such as the carbon neutrality of power-hungry data centers.
New features unveiled on Wednesday offer users ways to help with the effort, from driving on routes that have less car exhaust emissions to buying energy-efficient devices online. .
“In all of these efforts, our goal is to make the sustainable choice an easier choice,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai, while briefing reporters on the latest features.
Artificial intelligence has been used in Google’s free Google Maps service in the United States to show people the most fuel-efficient routes to destinations, even if they aren’t the fastest.
“This defaults to the route that uses less fuel when the estimated time of arrival is similar,” Pichai said.
“We believe this feature will have the same impact next year as taking over 200,000 cars off the road.”
The feature is to be rolled out in Europe in 2022.
Google has also started work on a project to use AI to optimize traffic efficiency in cities to reduce the time vehicles idle at intersections.
Information on carbon dioxide emissions is added to a Google Flights service for booking air travel.
“We put these numbers in context by labeling flights that have significantly higher emissions and adding a green badge to flights with significantly lower emissions,” Google said in an article.
The measurements will also show how much more carbon dioxide is attributed to business or first-class seats, which give more space to passengers.
In the coming months, Google will start adding details on how hotels are eco-friendly so people can opt for more eco-friendly accommodation.
Google’s initiatives include weaving information on environmental impact into its financial investment or appliance purchasing services, and providing more information on the cost-benefits of electric vehicles.
“Individually these choices may seem small, but when you multiply them together in our products, they amount to big transformations for the planet,” said Pichai.
“It’s going to take all of this to avoid the worst consequences of climate change and there is no time to waste. “
In a time of both disinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing you can help us tell the story right.