Google is seriously thinking about building its own city that will serve as a showcase for some of the futuristic technologies that it’s developed. No, seriously: Rather than deploy different tech ideas in existing towns to see if they work, Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs could create its digital city called “Project Sidewalk.”
Nothing has been decided just yet, but Sidewalk CEO Dan Doctoroff will pitch the idea to Alphabet CEO Larry Page in the coming weeks, The Information has learned. If successful, Doctoroff will then have to choose where to base this digital city.
Sidewalk could also decide to deploy its tech in an existing city, Gizmodo says. The city would have to be big enough to accommodate hundreds of thousands of people.
Some of the projects Alphabet might be interested in testing in a large-scale city lab include LinkNYC, the new public Wi-Fi system for New York City, and Flow, a tool meant to streamline public transportation by collecting data from everything that moves. Alphabet’s self-driving cars would also find a home in such a tech city. Google Fiber and Project Fi would also probably be deployed inside the city.
There are similar projects already being implemented in the U.S. Mcity is a fake city belonging to the U.S. government, which is using it for testing autonomous vehicles. CITE, short for Center for Innovation, Testing, and Evaluation is a self-contained city that’s been built in the New Mexico desert. Furthermore, Alphabet’s new HQ and its testing facility for self-driving vehicles offer ample space for testing all sorts off wild tech projects.
Alphabet has yet to announce anything about creating its own city or taking over an existing one, so it might be a while until we see a Google city emerge. But once it does, it should definitely consider sparing some housing for the Google employees who insist on sleeping in parking lots.