Google has launched a new business called Sidewalk Labs to develop and nurture technologies that can improve the lives of the world's 3.5 billion city dwellers.
Google chief executive Larry Page (pictured below) announced the launch in a Google+ post and said that the new subsidiary will look to solve the problems of modern city living.
"Sidewalk will focus on improving city life for everyone by developing and incubating urban technologies to address issues like cost of living, efficient transport and energy use," he said.
"By improving urban technology, it's possible to significantly improve the lives of billions of people around the world.
"With Sidewalk, we want to supercharge existing efforts in areas such as housing, energy, transport and government to solve real problems that city dwellers face every day."
The new company will be headed up by Dan Doctoroff, former chief executive of Bloomberg and deputy mayor of economic development and rebuilding for New York City.
Sidewalk Labs will be based in New York and work on creating a new products and platforms, as well as forge partnerships that can help make city living more efficient through the use of collected data, the Internet of Things, flexible infrastructure and widespread connectivity.
Page explained that this approach will provide a view of the multiple factors that affect city life and enable technologies to be developed using this insight.
Setting up Sidewalk Labs is a relatively modest investment for Google according to Page, and is very different from the firm's core business. But he said it offers "endless" opportunities for improving urban environments.
Given Google's work on driverless cars, fibre-optic broadband networks and potential successors to the canned Google Glass smart glasses, it is not surprising to see the company turn its corporate eye and technology clout on another diverse undertaking.
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