New filters in Google Search can help users find the most eco-friendly options when it comes to planning travel and buying appliances.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced a number of green initiatives his company is working on, which includes enhancements to Search and Maps among other projects.
Here’s more about the updates announced this week.
Find Flights With Low Carbon Emissions
An update to Google Flights will display information about carbon emissions directly in search results.
Starting today, Google will display a carbon emissions estimate for nearly every flight.
This information will be displayed in the SERPs right next to the price and duration of the flight.
In addition to cost and time, travellers can now factor carbon emissions into their decision-making process.
Google will display associated carbon emissions per seat for every flight, allowing searchers to find lower-carbon options if they prefer.
When users search for hotels they will now see information on their sustainability efforts, such as waste reduction and water conservation measures, and whether they’re Green Key or EarthCheck certified.
Find Environmentally Friendly Appliances
An update to Google Shopping will allow searchers to find the most environmentally friendly options when shopping for appliances.
Searches for energy-intensive products like furnaces, dishwashers, and water heaters will return suggestions in the Shopping tab regarding the most sustainable options.
Eco-friendly Routing in Google Maps
Starting now in the U.S., and in Europe in 2022, Google will highlight the most fuel-efficient route when searching for a location in Maps.
“Thanks to AI and insights from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), eco-friendly routing is rolling out now in the U.S. on Android and iOS, with plans to expand to Europe and beyond in 2022.
We estimate that eco-friendly routing has the potential to prevent over one million tons of carbon emissions per year — that’s the equivalent of removing over 200,000 cars from the road.”
Google Maps will continue searching for the fastest route. If it happens to differ from the most fuel-efficient route then Maps will present two options. Users can then decide which route they want to follow.
Coming Soon: Lite Navigation for Cyclists
Google says the use of biking directions on Maps have increased by up to 98% in cities around the world
To make it easier to get around via bike, Google is introducing an alternative to the standard turn-by-turn navigation called “lite” navigation.
Lite navigation mode makes it possible for cyclists tosee important details about their route needing to constantly look at their screen.
At a glance cyclists can see their trip progress, their ETA in real-time, and the elevation of the route. Lite navigation starts rolling out in the coming months wherever cycling navigation is live on Android and iOS in the coming months.
Coming Soon: Updates to EV Search
Google is making it easier to see hybrid and electric vehicle options, compare them against gas-powered models, directly in search results.
Those features will start to roll out in the U.S. this year, with more to come in 2022.