Google’s secret construction software platform could cut construction costs, planning time in half

Updated Oct 30, 2013

Google logoThe same folks that gave us Google Glass and are working to make driverless cars a reality are hard at work on an online software platform that could cut construction costs in half, according to a report from Globes.

Just to give you an idea of the kind of momentum that’s behind this “secret” project, it was started by Google co-founder Larry Page in January 2011, Globes reports. Later that year, Google computer engineer Astro (Eric) Teller was put in charge of the project and given a budget of $5 million.

Teller was given a team of 10 senior computer engineers and programmers who were later joined by economists and real estate and marketing experts. Dubbed “Genie,” the software project is said to be an online platform composed of planning applications that assist architects and engineers during the design process, “especially for skyscrapers and large buildings” as well as creating environmentally-friendsly buildings, Globes reports.

“Genie standardizes and automates the design and construction processes with unlimited design options, enabling an architect to preserve the building’s uniqueness in the urban environment,” according to the report.

Globes reports that the platform was “presented as a revolutionary” tool that will change the way “buildings are designed, built and maintained, saving trillions of dollars.”

Google enlisted U.S. contractors, large developers , leading engineers and architects as beta testers for the platform who reportedly responded to it with enthusiasm. The platform is expected to save between 30 and 50 percent on construction costs and reduce the time between planning to construction between 30 and 60 percent.

The benefit to Google is that it could generate $120 billion each year for the company. Google has since spun the company off as a separate venture called Vannevar Technology Inc. Located in Delaware, the company does not have a listed address but has 14.4 million shares and raised when it was established.