I’ve been sitting on this story for a while. Google partnered with Toronto in an effort to build a futuristic city.
I haven’t posted anything about it because there’s been no further stories about it. I was hoping Google’s intentions would get clearer, but this is what I’m left with (from the Inc. article linked above):
While the company scouted locations for the project last year, Doctoroff wrote that he envisioned the city of the future offering free Wi-Fi throughout, relying on sustainable energy, having automated trash systems, and being outfitted with self-driving cars in mind. These innovations, he said, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds and save the average resident an hour each day, thanks largely to transportation improvements.
The project will take place in an area southeast of downtown Toronto. Doctoroff says the the hope is to over time extend it across the city’s eastern waterfront.
The thing is, I live in downtown Toronto. Most of the waterfront was re-finished over the past couple years. It looks really nice now. There are fewer lanes for cars, more bike lanes, and a lot of green space. Apart from the lack of wifi, most of this is already done. And I don’t think installing wifi across downtown Toronto requires Google’s involvement.
I also don’t necessarily want a company with Google’s privacy stances managing the technological infrastructure of my neighbourhood.
I was hoping deeper articles would clarify what Google and Toronto’s long-term plans are. But in lieu of that, I’m left to consider this based only on my existing knowledge of the city. But based on what I know, I don’t think there’s any real benefit to a partnership of this nature.