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Google’s new Sidewalk Labs searches for urban solutions

Dan Doctoroff, economic development chief under former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will head Google's new Sidewalk Labs spinoff. (World Resources Institute)

Google has a new mission: to organize the world’s cities and make them universally accessible and useful.

The Silicon Valley giant that revolutionized the Internet has launched Sidewalk Labs, a new company that aims to develop cutting-edge technologies to improve cities, according to the announcement.

Dan Doctoroff, who served as deputy mayor of economic development and rebuilding under former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has been named CEO of the New York-based company. In a blog post, Google CEO and Co-Founder Larry Page says that Sidewalk Labs will think holistically about urban challenges. “A lot of urban challenges are interrelated,” he writes. “So it helps to start from first principles and get a big-picture view of the many factors that affect city life.”

The urban innovation company will specialize in “technology at the intersection of the physical and digital worlds,” Google says, referring to the Internet of Things. Initial goals include boosting transportation efficiency, reducing living costs, lowering energy consumption and helping municipalities streamline operations. Writing in Gizmodo, Alissa Walker urges the new company to address the dearth of affordable housing, particularly in developing cities.

Sidewalk Labs

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