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Google Y lab set up to build airports and cities

Google is set to launch a second research and development lab to solve the biggest challenges facing humanity, according to sources.

A report by The Information (opens in new tab) claims that Google Y will focus on longer term issues and already includes plans to build more efficient airports and even a model city.

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Although Google X, the research facility founded in 2010, already has an ambitious remit including self-driving cars, using drones to provide online access, and curing death, CEO Larry Page reportedly wants the new lab to focus on other grand-scale plans.

While the Google 2.0 project doesn't seem to be taking commercial interests into consideration at the moment, there are more realistic, near-term goals being discussed. Page has asked the project to focus on improving location tracking technology, making it accurate "down to the inches."

This would allow people to identify those around them discreetly and enable store owners to provide an experience more tailored to the individual as they walk into a shop.

The CEO has also outlined plans for some form of biometric security, like Apple's Touch ID, possibly provided by sensors embedded in smartwatches. The company's attention to security features is not surprising, given the recent celebrity image scandal, which highlighted the weaknesses in traditional password-based systems.

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The ambitious nature of the rumoured projects is hardly unexpected, as the firm has never been content to focus solely on its search engine business. Still, the idea of living in a Google-built city may be a step too far for some customers.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.