"Sidewalk will focus on improving city life for everyone by developing and incubating urban technologies to address issues like cost of living, efficient transportation and energy usage," chief executive Larry Page said in a post at the Internet titan's Google+ social network.

Sidewalk will be headed by Dan Doctoroff, a former chief executive of Bloomberg LP and New York city deputy mayor of economic development under then Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

While financial details were not disclosed, Page described Sidewalk as a "relatively modest investment" in building a business that is not only different from Google's core internet operations but which could improve people's lives.