Google Flights Adding New Feature
Google launched a new feature on Wednesday that shows users the environmental impact of flights. Starting today, users will see carbon emission estimates for almost all flights in search results. The forecast can be viewed next to the price and duration of the flight. Google states that the new feature will allow users to factor in carbon emissions as well as cost or timing in their decisions when it comes to booking travel.
Estimates are flight and seat specific. For instance, emissions estimates will change when looking at economy or first-class seats, as seats with more space account for a larger share of total emissions. Additionally, new aircrafts are generally less polluting than older ones.
Flights with lower emissions will be labeled with a green badge. Those who want to prioritize carbon impact when searching for a flight can rank the results so that the flights with the lowest emissions are at the top of the list. Flights are labeled as higher, typical, lower, or unknown emissions.
Google calculates the estimates by combining data from the European Environment Agency with flight-specific information provided by airlines regarding details such as aircraft type and total number of seats. The big search company notes that actual carbon emissions can vary and depend on factors such as aircraft model and configuration, aircraft speed and attitude, and the distance between departure and destination. The company plans to continue to revise its carbon emissions over time to improve accuracy.
Richard Holden, Google's vice president of travel product, said that "This update to Google Flights is just one of the many ways we are helping people make sustainable choices in their daily lives.
This latest update to Google Flights comes with the company launching new eco-friendly routing in the US for iOS and Android users. The eco-friendly route allows drivers to choose between the fastest and most fuel-efficient route. Google believes the new feature could allow Google Maps users to avoid more than 1 million tons of carbon emissions per year. Environmental routing is expected to begin in Europe next year.