Google’s new climate-friendly features are great, but it’s the real problem

Giant corporations do more harm than individuals ever could, but still, turn down your smart thermostat, please.

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Earlier today, Google laid out a bunch of new eco-friendly feature additions to products like Google Search, Maps, and Travel to better deflect from the fact that it contributes far more to the climate change crisis than individuals do.

Sure, a lot of these announcements sound pretty useful and we’ll try them out, but seeing as how the company — along with other megacorporations like Amazon and Microsoft — still poses the biggest threat to our species’ survival on this planet, we’d much rather continue hearing about the ways it is changing to address the countless eco-catastrophes around us than have it suggest ways we can do our comparatively minuscule part.

The announcement includes a redesign of the search responses for “climate change” that will include a “Take Action” tab along with other “high quality climate-related information.” When searching for vehicles, Google will also begin pushing EV and hybrid options to the top of results, along with compatible charging stations for whatever car users are researching. More energy-efficient home appliances will also be suggested during related browsing, too. Gee, thanks.

Some genuninely useful additions to Maps — Alright, we’re not all doom and gloom today. The new tools within Google Maps actually sound pretty good. Beginning next Wednesday, drivers can select the most fuel-efficient route available to them, and if that also happens to be the fastest, Maps will automatically select those directions. On a related note, when searching for flights, Google will soon show would-be passengers how big a CO2 footprint their plane trip will result in.

Nest Renew for thermostat control — Those of you with Google Nest products in your home will soon be able to utilize a program called “Nest Review,” which will automatically adjust your home’s heating and cooling times to whenever there is the most renewable energy on your local grid.

Taken all together, the moves are sensible ones and even we can’t wholeheartedly hate on them. But don’t let Google fool you for a second into thinking that we are what needs to change the most right now. Big companies, like it, are the leading causes of climate change. And they need to lead by example instead of passing the buck.