NEW YORK, June 11 (UPI) -- Digital-innovator Google is moving beyond the Internet to begin an independent company dedicated to coming up with new technologies to improve city life.
Called Sidewalk Labs, the new "urban innovative company" will focus on improving urban living by developing and incubating technologies to address issues like cost of living, transportation and energy usage. It will be led by Daniel Doctoroff, New York City's former deputy mayor for economic development and former chief executive of Bloomberg L.P.
"New technologies are already transforming commerce, media and access to information," the company said in an announcement. "However, while there are apps to tell people about traffic conditions, or the prices of available apartments, the biggest challenges that cities face -- such as making transportation more efficient and lowering the cost of living, reducing energy usage and helping government operate more efficiently have, so far, been more difficult to address."
Neither Google CEO Larry Page nor Doctoroff would disclose how much will be invested into Sidewalk Labs. In a Google+ post, Page said it was "a relatively modest investment and very different from Google's core business," and compared it to the company's Calico, an independent biotech research and development company, and Google X, the lab that created Google glasses and the self-driving car.
"Every time I talk with Dan I feel an amazing sense of opportunity because of all the ways technology can help transform cities to be more livable, flexible and vibrant," Page said.
"As more and more people around the world live, work and settle in cities, the opportunities for improving our urban environments are endless. Now it's time to hit the streets and get to work!"