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Google rolls out a new set of search tools for eco-conscious travelers

·2-min read

In recent months, Google has been steadily adding new tools to help consumers choose more sustainable options when using its services like Google Maps, Google Flights and hotel search. On Tuesday, the company announced it's expanding these efforts with the addition of a handful of new features that allow travelers to better filter their searches to make sustainable choices when booking flights or hotels as well as improved options for trains.

The new features complement Google's existing options that have allowed consumers to view eco-related information about their travel choices -- like the estimated carbon emissions on flights, or whether or not the hotels carry an "eco-label" from a trusted third-party group, Google noted.

Now, web searchers will be able to directly filter their flight and hotel searches to remove non-sustainable options from their search results entirely, and they'll be able to more easily book trains through Google's services.

To address the needs of eco-conscious air travelers, Google Flights is adding a "Low Emissions" filter that will allow you to see only those flights that have lower emissions compared with similar trips when performing searches.

Similarly, when searching for hotels on Google.com/travel, you can click on a new "eco-certified" filter to browse a list that only contains eco-certified properties.

Google noted it had worked directly with organizations including the U.S. Green Building Council, which provides LEED ratings, and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council in order to improve the accuracy of its travel search results by importing their databases of eco-certified hotels.

The company is also making it easier to book trains through its travel services -- something that had been difficult to do previously as finding both prices and schedules required separate searches, it said. Now, a new module will appear when you search for a train-related search like "Berlin to Vienna trains" that will let you pick a departure date, then compare the various schedules.

This allows travelers to consider trains, which can be the more sustainable option over car or plane travel, but it's only launching in select countries to start -- Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan.

Google said it would expand this feature to more locations over time as it onboarded other rail providers and is working to create a similar feature for bus tickets as well.