Google's planning a climate program called 'Non-Fungible Planet'

Meanwhile, climate change denial is thriving across Google's platforms.

04/12/03 - Dinkytown - Minneapolis firemen put out a fire in a garbage dumpster in a parking lot nex...
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Google has filed a patent for something called “Non-Fungible Planet,” an environmental awareness program of sorts that’s also a play on words around NFTs. Clever, Google.

The patent, which was filed on March 21 and has been approved for use through the end of October 2024, reveals minimal detail about what, exactly, Non-Fungible Planet actually is. It’s almost certainly an educational program, based on what information we do have, but it could easily encompass other products, too.

The topics Google hopes to cover with Non-Fungible Planet include:

  • environmental protection
  • conservation
  • energy efficiency
  • climate change
  • reducing carbon footprints
  • environmental issues
  • sustainability efforts

One big question remains: Will Non-Fungible Planet also take down the scores of climate denial content on Google and YouTube?

Very punny — While we still know very little about what this project actually entails, we do know the most important part of it: that name. Non-Fungible Planet is obvious wordplay around non-fungible tokens, better-known as NFTs.

One of the most hotly debated aspects of the NFT market is its impact on the environment — individual transactions on the Ethereum blockchain add up to enormous amounts of energy consumption. (Ethereum 2.0, an upgrade to this system, is meant to significantly reduce this consumption in the not-too-distant future.)

So, Non-Fungible Planet seems like it’ll have some sort of crypto angle to it, even if that’s not the program’s main focus. Unfortunately, Google isn’t the first company to have thought of this neat little pun; at least one NFT company got there already. But Google did get to the patent office first. Legally speaking, that’s all that really matters.

You know what would really help? — According to Google’s patent filing, Non-Fungible Planet will leverage the company’s extensive internet resources for dissemination. Videos will take center stage in the program, including, as Google calls them, “online non-downloadable video playlists.” That’s YouTube, in common parlance.

The program and its playful naming scheme are a decent attempt to bring climate change awareness to Google’s truly enormous audience. If Google really wanted to affect change, though, it might want to check out all the climate change denial content that’s still kicking around on its platforms. And not in a way that amounts to broken promises.

Then again: Non-Fungible Planet could never come to fruition. It’s just a patent filing, after all. Maybe Google just wanted credit for the pun.