Protests Disrupt Google I/O Keynote: Who Were They, And Why Were They There?

Google held possibly its most important event in years last night, but all did not go smoothly.

Not once but twice during Google's I/O keynote those up on stage were interrupted by protestors shouting. This was in addition to the 10 protestors that had pitched up outside Google HQ.

One protest would be considered a rare event but three, and about three completely different things? That's just unfortunate.

Attendance to Google I/O is far from cheap, the ticket to get in costs $1000, so what causes two people to spend that kind of cash just so they can have their story heard and 10 people to start living on Google's doorstep?

Turns out it was houses, killer robots and watching Netflix in HD.

What's Google doing to houses?

Google as a company? Nothing. Holding a shirt with the words 'develop a conscience, stop Jack Halprin,' the first protestor actually took issue with what one Google lawyer, Jack Halprin, is doing to houses. Reported by the San Francisco Examiner Halprin recently bought himself a seven-unit building in the trendy Mission district of the city.

In February Halprin then issued Ellis Act evictions to the rest of the tenants in the building, including two teachers. This unsurprisingly didn't go down well with local residents, resulting in Google busses being blockaded and protestors camping outside the building.

What's Google doing with killer robots?

Just moments after the first protestor, a man then stood up and started proclaiming that Google was building 'machines that kill people' labelling the company as 'totalitarian'.

Why? In December 2013 Google bought Boston Dynamics, an advanced robotics company that builds vehicles for a range of different functions including heavy-lifting for the military. Famously known for its LS3 'Robotic Mule' and the ATLAS Robot.

Officially the company hasn't built any robots specifically designed as weapons, however it seems fair to assume the protestor is more taking issue with Boston Dynamics' $140m contract with the U.S. Defense Department, $10m of which is left to be honoured.

Reactions to the protestor varied from sympathy to mild bemusement:

Why Were There Stormtroopers Outside Google?

There weren't, but there was supposed to be. Instead around 20 non-stormtroopers protestors pitched up their tents on Google's front door protesting that the company wasn't doing enough to tackle the current net neutrality battle that's currently taking place in the US.

Their demands? That Google "blackout their entire website for a day, replacing it with a link to petitions and the FCC comment page,". More a demand than an actual protest there are many that are keen to stop service providers like Comcast charging media providers such as Netflix for unhindered access to their networks.

At present Comcast is charging Netflix a fee which in return gives Netflix a direct channel to people's homes, resulting in better quality streaming.

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