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Google Pushes Sustainability in Maps, Nest, and Flights

Posted October 6, 2021 | Cloud | Google | Microsoft | Windows

Google has unveiled a new push in its sustainability initiative and has updated services like Maps, Nest, and Flights to support these efforts.

“Today we’re sharing several new ways people can use Google’s products to make sustainable choices,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai writes in the announcement post. “Among them, we’re introducing new features to book flights or purchase appliances that have lower carbon footprints, a Nest program to support clean energy from home, and eco-friendly routing on Google Maps — which is rolling out today.”

Google is updating the following services:

Maps. Google Maps is getting three sustainability-related updates. The eco-friendly routing option it debuted last year is now live for all U.S. customers on Android and iOS, and it will roll out to “Europe and beyond” in 2022. A new lite navigation feature will provide at-a-glance information about trip progress, real-time ETA updates, and the elevation to bike riders and will be available in the coming months. And its bike and scooter share information has expanded to over 300 cities around the world on Android and iOS.

Nest. Google announced a new service called Nest Renew that shows you the impact of your electricity usage, when the energy you receive is cleanest, and it provides a rewards program that will trigger Google funding to your choice of nonprofits when you hit energy-saving milestones. There’s also a paid, premium version of the service for $10 per month that provides a Clean Energy Match feature that estimates your fossil fuel electricity use at home and matches it with renewable energy credits (RECs) from U.S. solar and wind plants. Both services are coming to the continental U.S. soon. You can join the waitlist here.

Flights. Google Flights recently added the ability to search for eco-certified hotels and now it is adding information about carbon emissions. Effective immediately, Google Flights will display a carbon emissions estimate for most flights in search results, next to the price and duration of the flight. These estimates are both flight- and seat-specific, Google says, with premium economy and first-class seats accounting for a larger share of total emissions.

Google notes that these updates are in addition to its 2020 pledge to run its data centers and campuses on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030.

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