Google and Aclima show you how bad air pollution in California can be

If seeing is believing, then Google is here to convert us all — at least, as far as air pollution is concerned. In an attempt to better understand local air quality, Google teamed up with environmental intelligence company Aclima, mapping air pollution throughout California using Google Street View cars outfitted with air quality sensors. The company published initial results of this collaboration earlier in 2017, but now, Google wants to give Californians even more detail about their air quality (or lack thereof). Now, you can view the air pollution levels in three distinct areas of the West Coast — San Francisco, Los Angeles, and California’s Central Valley.

Google’s Street View cars traveled 100,000 miles and 4,000 hours to collect the data to determine how air quality changes by block, by the hour, and by day. The hope is that the results can be used by scientists and air quality specialists to help local organizations, governments, and regulators “achieve greater air quality improvements and solutions.”

In their explorations of Los Angeles, the cars found that congested highways, local streets, and even weather patterns contributed to blowing pollution inland.

In looking at the San Francisco Bay Area, Google found that a significant proportion of air pollution came from cars, trucks, and construction equipment, and industrial polluters like refineries and power plants. Even street-level pollution patterns reflected these sources.

Finally, in the Central Valley, Google and Aclima discovered that the interstate traffic that runs along Interstate 5 and Interstate 99 contributed significantly to air pollution. And even though the Central Valley is largely rural and boasts a significant agricultural population, even this industry creates quite a bit of air pollution. Google pointed out, “weather conditions and topography can trap air pollution between the coast and the Sierra Nevada mountains resulting in a chronic ozone and particulate matter levels that exceed public health standards.”

Google isn’t keeping this information and its data visualizations behind lock and key. Rather, the company is allowing air quality scientists to request access to the data. Thus far, more than 1 billion air quality data points have been analyzed, but it seems that much more information is soon to come. “Air quality impacts our planet and our health,” Google noted. “We hope this information helps us build smarter more sustainable cities, reduce climate-changing greenhouse gases and improve air quality for healthier living.”

Computing

Amazon takes $200 off Apple’s latest 13-inch MacBook Air with retina display

Amazon is taking $200 off Apple's latest MacBook Air. This MacBook Air has 13-inch retina display, a built-in FaceTime HD camera, and that classic lightweight wedge shape the Air is loved and known for.
Smart Home

OK Google, what else can you do? The best tips and tricks for Google Home

The Home functions in a similar fashion to its main competitor, the Amazon Echo, but has the added benefit of select Google services. Here are few tips to help you make the most of the newfangled device.
Smart Home

Google Home vs. Amazon Echo: Which one is better for you?

What happens when you compare the Google Home vs the Amazon Echo? Both smart speakers have good qualities, but what happens when you compare they're features side-by-side? We think one of these smart gadgets wins over the other.
Gaming

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.
Computing

Potentially malicious WinRAR vulnerability patched after almost 20 years

WinRAR, a piece of Windows software for managing archival formats, has been harboring a vulnerability for nearly two decades, potentially allowing malicious software to insert items into a computer's startup folder without user permission.
Gaming

Learn to uninstall a Steam game and clear some space on your PC

Looking to learn how to uninstall Steam games? You've come to the right place. In this guide, we walk you through the process step by step, whether you want Steam to do it for you or handle the process manually.
Computing

Prone to web surfing? Google Chrome’s new Focus Mode fights internet distractions

Finding yourself distracted by the web when you need to get work done? A new flag in Google Chrome could hint at a new Focus Mode. The feature may allow computer users to block distracting websites or notifications.
Computing

Intel expects Apple to transition Macs to ARM processors in 2020, report says

It has been rumored for some time that Apple could transition away from Intel to ARM processors, but a new report now claims that Intel is aware of the decision and that it could happen in 2020.
Computing

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.
Computing

Dodge the biggest laptop-buying mistakes with these handy tips

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Computing

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.
Computing

Everything you need to know about routers, modems, combos, and mesh networks

Modem vs. router: what's the difference? We explain their functions so you can better diagnose any issues prior to contacting technical support. We also talk about a few variants you'll see offered by ISPs and retailers.
Computing

The rumors were true. Nvidia’s 1660 Ti GPU, a $280 powerhouse, has arrived

Nvidia has officially launched the GTX 1660 Ti, its next-generation, Turing-based GPU. It promises to deliver all the performance and efficiency for all modern games, but without stepping into the high price range of the RTX series.