Google Cloud introduces Carbon Footprint Tracker and Satellite Imagery Suite

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Alphabet’s Google will share the carbon footprint of their cloud usage with their cloud customers and, for the first time, provide them with satellite imagery for environmental analysis to help companies track and reduce carbon budgets.

The new features were among the announcements that Google Cloud made on Tuesday to kick off its annual customer conference, which is taking place virtually this year due to the pandemic.

The leading western cloud providers Google, Microsoft and Amazon have been competing for sustainability offers for years. They aim to support companies that are under pressure from stakeholders to rethink their business operations in the face of climate change.

Google’s new carbon footprint tool, similar to the one Microsoft has already provided, shows the emissions associated with the electricity used to store and process a customer’s data. In addition, Google will now warn customers when they are wasting energy on inactive cloud services.

The new map offering, Google Earth Engine, has been used by tens of thousands of researchers, governments and stakeholders since 2009. But Google is now also letting companies join the service, which has many huge geospatial data sets like Landsat and the software they need to analyze them. Amazon has a similar initiative.

“We now see that this applies to many of these commercial opportunities,” said Jen Bennett, technical director at Google Cloud.

According to Google, Earth Engine could help ensure that supply chains are sustainable and that operational challenges from extreme weather are predicted. Unilever Plc, which has been testing the technology for the past 12 months, has been scrutinizing its palm oil sources in Indonesia, although it has not been able to determine whether this led to any changes in practice.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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