Reduce your carbon footprint with these new Google Maps and Flights features
In March this year, Google first announced a new Eco-friendly routes feature for Google Maps. The company once again highlighted this feature at I/O 2021 in May and also showcased a new Safer Routing feature. Google is now finally rolling it out to users, along with a host of other sustainability features for other services.
New sustainability features in Google Maps
In a recent blog post, Google has announced that it’s adding three new features to Google Maps that will help users reduce their carbon footprint while traveling. These include Eco-friendly routing, Lite navigation for cyclists, and Bike and scooter share information.
The Eco-friendly routing feature has started rolling out to users in the US. It shows users the most fuel-efficient route from point A to B, along with the fastest route in Google Maps. In addition, it highlights the relative fuel savings and ETA difference between the two routes. Google plans to release the feature in Europe and other regions next year.
Google has also highlighted a Lite navigation feature for cyclists. The feature is live on Android and will roll out on iOS in the coming months. It essentially provides essential navigation details to cyclists, thereby eliminating the need to keep the screen on or enter turn-by-turn navigation. Thanks to the feature, cyclists can get important information, like trip progress, ETA update in real-time, and the route’s elevation, with a glance.
Lastly, Google has revealed that it has rolled out the Bike and scooter share information to over 300 cities globally. The feature gives users easy access to nearby bike/scooter sharing stations. It even pinpoints how many vehicles are available at a given time in major locations across Berlin, New York, São Paulo, and Taipei.
Find flights with lower carbon emissions
To help you reduce your carbon footprint while traveling by air, Google Flights has introduced a new feature that shows carbon emission estimates for nearly every flight in the search results. The estimate appears right next to the price and duration of the flight, allowing environment-conscious users to factor in carbon emissions alongside the cost and timings while booking a flight.
The carbon emission estimates in Google Flights are both flight-specific and seat-specific, meaning that older aircraft will show a higher estimate than newer aircraft, and economy seats will show a lower estimate than first-class seats. To help users easily pick flights with significantly lower emissions, Google Flights will label them with a green badge and offer a filter to sort flights based on their emissions.
New Climate Change page in Google Search
Along with the new features in Maps and Flights, Google will also add a dedicated page for Climate Change in Google Search (via 9to5Google) later this month. The page will give users access to relevant information about climate change, news, causes, effects, and more. The page also includes a “Take action” tab that lists things you can do to help limit climate change.
In addition, Google is also making it easier to find electric and other eco-friendly vehicles in Google Search. As you can see in the attached GIF, search results will now surface climate-conscious models and let users compare them while helping them understand the benefits of picking an EV. Search results for Electric and Hybrid plug-in vehicles will be marked with green tags and include a “Charging” tab with information about time to refuel, charging stations near you, and a tool to calculate the annual energy cost estimate.
Google will also show more cost-effect and sustainable alternatives in Google Shopping when you look up energy-intensive appliances in the US. Google Finance will also expand its sustainability score to your entire tracked portfolio to show your investments’ sustainability. Lastly, Google also shared some research on making traffic lights more efficient to reduce idling time. The company is piloting this effort in Rio de Janeiro, with plans to soon bring it to more locations.