Not terribly long ago, Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs was rumored to be looking into actually building a technology-centric city based on a comment by its leader, Dan Doctoroff, that building a city might be a "great idea". Incredibly, news broke last week that this ambitious plan seemed to be the real deal; Sidewalk Labs was getting some of the top minds in city planning and analytics involved in the project and was planning on speaking to cities, states and counties about their plans. The proposal was named "Project Sidewalk" and was being worked on by some of the biggest names in both tech and in civil engineering. The plan was to present it to Google's higher-ups in due time to see if it would get the green light, which would mean that some 10,000 people would have the opportunity to call Google their landlord in the future. As it turns out, this exact type of plan is something that Larry Page has talked about since 2013.
On Tuesday, a few more details about the plan surfaced. The target would be a specific city, which means that Google would have to deal with county and state authorities. Rather than making their own city completely from scratch on otherwise unused land, the tentative plan is to get city leaders' approval to take over a part of a given city and revamp it from top to bottom to be more tech-friendly. This city would also be a haven of sorts for testing new technology among a willing populace. How Google would get around regulators on the state and federal levels was not mentioned but it's entirely possible that they may have their chosen city's backing in such an endeavor.
Back in 2013, Larry Page spoke about cordoning off some land for Google to experiment in and use as a playground. In a way, the formation of Sidewalk Labs was the realization of that dream, rolling out public Wi-Fi in New York City and a smart transport system called Flow. The original plan for Sidewalk Labs, using New York as their main test bed, became very restrictive very quickly, leading to the idea for a dedicated city and eventually to the fully fleshed out plan that just might make a living, breathing Googletopia a reality within our lifetimes.