Google Green


Whether you’re a commuter looking for safe ways to bike to work or a small business owner seeking greener email solutions, our products help you live a better life while also being good to the environment.

Google Maps

Every day, people are saving time and money with Google Maps—and getting where they need to be—all while minimizing their impact on the environment. Get inspired by nature to take public transit and then check out the below ways you can use Google Maps to travel greener.


By choosing the bike icon in Google Maps for any directions search, cyclists in over 200 US cities, Canada, Australia, and 12 countries in Europe can get detailed bike trail and bike lane information to get to their destination. You can find recommended bike routes where streets with bike lanes are prioritized and see bike trails in green with the bicycling layer in Google Maps.


Pedestrians can choose the walking icon in Google Maps to get directions by foot. You can use Street View to preview a route or view the terrain layer within walking directions to avoid hills (or take advantage of them to catch the best view).

Using public transit

Google Maps and Google Transit make it easier for millions of people around the world to take public transport. You can:

  • Plan a trip: Available in over 15,000 cities and towns around the world, Transit integrates route, stop, schedule, and fare information to make trip planning quick and easy.
  • Customize your routes and departure and arrival times: You can use this feature (located under "More options and times" in Google Maps) to minimize walking or limit the number of transfers.
  • Know when your bus is late: You can track bus and rail arrival times with live transit updates.

Driving electric vehicles

Have an electric vehicle (EV) or thinking of buying one? Search for electric vehicle charging stations in your area by typing “ev charging station” plus your location (e.g., “ev charging station in San Francisco”) in Google Maps to ensure you have the power you need when you want it.

Getting good driving directions

Good directions save gas and eliminate unnecessary carbon output from driving in circles. You can also save paper by sending directions to your car or GPS system. Or use Google Maps Navigation—the GPS feature included on your Android device, iPhone, or iPad—to be automatically routed around real-time traffic.


Sharing rich, meaningful content is one of the best parts of the web. Google+ helps people connect on the things they care about—including the environment. Get inspired by nature to create strong communities. Then try the features below that make it easy to build communities around green interests and inspire greener actions in everyday life.

Finding interesting content

Google+ is loaded with features that make it easy to find and share interesting green content and support environmental causes:

  • Conversations: From seeing what's growing in community gardens to discussing the pros and cons of backyard chickens, a quick search will show you relevant posts from your social circles and public posts from around the world. With a simple +1 or click of the “Share” button, it's easy to pass along interesting articles and content to people in your circles.
  • Google+ pages: You can see how green nonprofits and organizations are changing the world by following their pages on Google+. For example, see what's top of mind at the Sierra Club or Nature Conservancy, and find out how you can get involved.
  • Hangouts On Air: When you tune into a Hangout On Air, you can ask questions and learn from the experts themselves—in real time and in any location around the world. Attend a live vegan cooking class, learn how to build a terrarium, or listen in as experts around the world tackle some of today's most pressing environmental concerns.

Marine biologists conducting the Catlin Seaview Survey on the health of coral reefs use Google+ Hangouts On Air to make the world's oceans more accessible to the public and help monitor their change over time.

Google Plus

Building green communities

Google+ Communities bring people together both on- and offline, helping them take action over shared green interests:

  • Private Communities: You can create or join a private community on any green topic, from community gardening to Meatless Monday supper clubs. For example, you could create a "Sunday Bike Club" community for your closest friends, or a "Hill Street Cycling" community for your entire neighborhood. You can then use your community to share local routes, organize a "bike to work" day, or coordinate signups for an upcoming race.
  • Public Communities: Anyone can create or join a public community and connect with others who share their green interests. From sharing the latest news in renewable energy to viewing beautiful real-life images in nature photography, see what you'll find in green communities on Google+.

Creating real world impact

Using the Events feature on Google+, you can turn online sharing into real world action. Google+ Events make it easy to organize cause-related gatherings like electronics recycling drives, nonprofit fundraisers, or beach cleanups. Choose from different themes to build your invitation, watch the events automatically appear on Google Calendar, and share photos in real time as you create more green in the world.


A billion people around the world discover, watch, and share original videos on YouTube—including videos with environmental themes. YouTube makes it easy to find and share green video content on an energy efficient platform, from how-to videos on greener living to nonprofit channels that bring environmental causes to life.

Video: How to shop for healthy produce

Empowering viewers to be greener every day

Viewers can learn almost anything on YouTube, including ways to be greener in their everyday lives. Viewers can get inspired by nature to compost, make eco-friendly packing peanuts, and even make a grilled cheese sandwich using solar power. They can also find channels and playlists dedicated to green content, such as Howdini's Green Living playlist.

Video: The Story of Stuff

Expanding access to green information

Videos uploaded to YouTube give greater access to thought leaders and information about environmental challenges. Viewers can tune into keynotes at exclusive green conferences or audit an environmental studies class at a leading university. From TED Talks on renewable energy to documentaries that have gone viral online like the Story of Stuff, YouTube videos can engage wider audiences and spark conversation about some of today's most pressing environmental issues.

Video: Earth Hour 2013

Helping environmental nonprofits tell their stories

Environmental nonprofits can connect with supporters and bring their causes to life by customizing their YouTube channels and creating compelling videos. By including annotations in their videos, they can easily include calls to action and encourage people to volunteer or donate to their causes. Some nonprofits even use YouTube as a platform to launch interactive campaigns, such as the World Wildlife Fund's annual Earth Hour—a worldwide event encouraging households and businesses to turn off their lights for an hour to raise awareness about the need to fight climate change.

Running on an energy efficient platform

In addition to helping people find and share useful green videos, YouTube itself runs on an energy-efficient platform. Our data centers power all of our products and services. Because our data centers use 50% less energy than the typical data center, using YouTube is highly efficient, too.

Google Trends

Google Web Search crawls over 20 billion pages per day and serves over 100 billion searches each month. Using Google Trends, people can easily explore search trends and uncover hot topics over time, in different regions and cities, and in various languages around the world. By using this tool to uncover environmental insights, people can arm themselves with information to make greener everyday choices. At the same time, businesses and organizations in green markets can use it as an additional tool to gain additional insights about new and growing market needs.

Exploring changes over time

With Google Trends, people can track interest in green search queries over time since 2004, and potentially use this information to inform decisions. For instance, those interested in purchasing an alternative fuel vehicle will find that interest in flex fuel has declined since peaking in 2006 and 2008, in comparison to searches for ev charging, which have climbed steadily in recent years. By hovering over the letters in the graph, they can find relevant news articles related to spikes and dips. Groups can also use the tool to gain information to move their environmental agendas forward. For example, community members can point to the growing momentum of urban farming when advocating for zoning and legislation changes that support growing their own food. Similarly, seasonal patterns (as seen in searches for bike to work or compost) can help relevant organizations identify the best time to launch a campaign.

In addition to revealing changes in search volume for a specific keyword over time, the Google Trends tool highlights regional interest as well as related “top” and “rising” searches. The “Forecast” feature can be especially helpful to businesses in green markets. For instance, a developer may try to predict the demand for energy apps before deciding to build one that monitors home energy use.

Comparing and contrasting

With Google Trends, people can compare the volume of up to five search terms. Those interested in renewable energy can gauge the worldwide interest in different renewable energy sources, seeing how solar energy stacks up against wind and geothermal. People can also explore changes in green lifestyle trends over time and in different geographies. They may be surprised to find that searches for vegan have overtaken vegetarian over the years, or that “bike to work day” surpasses “carpool” queries each year in May. They can even compare search interest by region, metropolitan area, and city. The display on the right suggests that Colorado has the highest interest in self-powered commuting in the US. Because information can motivate changes in lifestyle, insights into green search trends can encourage people to take greener actions in their day-to-day lives.

Gmail & Google Apps

Gmail and Google Apps are helping businesses achieve their sustainability goals. All of Google’s products and services live in the “cloud” rather than on local servers. Because of our efficiency efforts, our cloud is, well, greener. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently published research indicating that moving all office workers in the United States to the cloud could reduce the energy used by information technology by up to 87%. This means businesses that use Gmail, Google Apps for Business, and Google App Engine are reducing their impact on the environment.

Google Apps

Using our cloud-based business services substantially decreases a wide range of costs—from IT infrastructure setup to management. In fact, our analysis suggests that a typical organization can achieve substantial energy and carbon savings—ranging from 65 to 85%—by migrating to Google Apps. How is the cloud so energy efficient? It’s all about reducing energy use for servers and server cooling. Check out our white paper.

And see how Genentech and JohnsonDiversey have benefited from switching to Google Enterprise products and how JohnsonDiversey won an award for cutting carbon emissions using Google Apps.

“Google Apps surpassed our expectations by allowing IT to eliminate 10 servers and its archives from the data center, thereby reducing our carbon footprint by 73 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Also, as the company grows, it won’t have to add infrastructure to either the main data center or the disaster recovery site. Google Apps has enabled the company to reduce operating costs by approximately $350,000...” – JohnsonDiversey, Inc.


Using Gmail is more energy efficient than using email hosted on local servers (such as on a server in your office or room). This is because Gmail is hosted in the cloud, which is large, so it can more efficiently distribute resources among many users. If you're interested in more detail, here's the math.

The study linked above demonstrates significant cost and carbon savings for the four million businesses that use Gmail. A business using Gmail decreases the environmental impact of their email service by up to 98%. In fact, small businesses with less than 50 people can save up to 172.8 kWh of energy and 101.6 kg of carbon per user per year by using Gmail instead of locally-hosted email.

Efficient use of servers by collective use in the cloud.

Inefficient use of servers by individual businesses.

Google Earth

Environmental organizations are using Google Earth to bring their causes to life, engage the public, and encourage action. Google Earth enables organizations and nonprofits to map deforestation, follow species in their habitats, and visualize the potential impact of climate change.

Video: Google Earth Outreach

Google Earth Outreach: Bringing causes to life through visualizations

Google Earth Outreach gives nonprofits and organizations the knowledge and resources they need to visualize their causes and share their story more broadly. Here are a few powerful examples with many more highlighted on the Lat Long Blog.

  • Fighting mountaintop removal: Appalachian Voices, an organization fighting mountaintop mining in Appalachia, built My Connection using Google tools to show people across the country how mountaintop removal may be devastating their own communities. In the ten days following the release of the Appalachian Mountaintop Removal layer in Google Earth, more than 13,000 people from every US state and more than 30 countries signed the online petition to stop the dumping of mountaintop removal mining waste into waterways.

  • Defending the rivers of the Amazon: Narrated by Sigourney Weaver, this presentation animates the potential impacts of the proposed massive Belo Monte Dam Complex. The presentation uses multiple data sources in Google Earth to illustrate the close connection between hydroelectricity, mining, and the spread of malaria-bearing mosquitoes.

Google Earth Engine: Driving understanding and action using satellite imagery

Google Earth Enginemakes more than 40 years of the world's satellite imagery available to scientists and researchers online. While everyday users can view satellite images in Google Earth and Google Maps, scientists around the world can use Google Earth Engine to analyze those images, add data, and create their own applications to monitor real-time changes in the Earth’s surface.

For example, a collaboration led by researchers at the University of Maryland has produced the first 30 meter resolution map of global forest change, from 2000-2012. It captures myriad forest dynamics, including fires, tornadoes, disease and logging. This map is being used by governments and other organizations to track global deforestation.

Timelapse, a collaboration between Google, NASA, Time magazine, the United States Geological Survey, and the Carnegie Mellon University CREATE lab, used Earth Engine to create a zoomable pannable movie of change everywhere on earth between 1984 and 2012.

Other current applications of Earth Engine involve measuring water usage, analyzing species habitat ranges, and measuring global urban expansion.

Google Cloud Platform

When developers and businesses build websites and apps on Google Cloud Platform, they're building on an infrastructure that uses 50% less energy than the average data center, is carbon neutral, and meets certified environmental standards. Therefore, businesses and developers gain the scale and performance of working on the same green infrastructure that powers Google services.

Building on a greener infrastructure

With Google App Engine and Google Compute Engine, businesses and developers easily manage and scale the apps that they build on Google’s platform. They don't need to focus on the underlying infrastructure, and they can be confident they're minimizing their environmental impact—even as their services grow. By building on our infrastructure instead of hosting on their own servers, they benefit from our environmentally responsible data center best practices and over ten years of innovation in data center efficiency.

Capture to Cloud


Fritz Mueller, Vice President of Product Management

“Being able to focus on features that add value to customers, instead of solving infrastructure problems, has been a key advantage. It allows us to respond to feedback quickly and improve our service.”

Read the case study »

Storing and analyzing data

In addition to building on our infrastructure, businesses and developers can store large amounts of data with Google Cloud Storage. Pair it with Google BigQuery, and they can analyze the data and get real business insights in seconds on our efficient servers. We've been designing these servers to minimize their energy use since 2001. We use power supplies that exceed “gold” industry efficiency standards, and we place batteries directly onto the machines to save energy. Additionally, we've repurposed enough outdated servers to avoid buying over 300,000 replacement machines since 2007. When businesses and developers use Google Cloud products, they have a reliable platform and can feel confident that they're storing and analyzing their data in an efficient, environmentally responsible way.

DNA nexus


Brigitte Ganter, Director of Product

“Rather than building your own infrastructure and taking time and resources away from your company, you can use Google’s infrastructure and know that it’s scalable and secure.”

Read the case study »

Google Finance

Google Finance publishes information on how companies are addressing climate change. We do this by including third-party ratings that allow individual investors to view environmental information as part of a company's financial data.

Giving people insight into a company's impact on climate change

In April 2010, we partnered with the nonprofit Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) to include environmental ratings into Google Finance. These ratings evaluate how well a company measures and reports its greenhouse gas emissions. The ratings also measure a company's awareness of the risks and opportunities that climate change poses to its business. The score is listed as “Carbon Disclosure Rating” and appears in the “Key stats and ratios” box on the right side of a company’s Google Finance page.