It wouldn’t be a Google I/O without a little bit of controversy. In the middle of today’s keynote, a plane started circling the amphitheater where Google holds its annual conference, towing a protest banner. “Google control is not privacy #savelocalnews,” the banner read.
That’s a first for Google. We’ve seen the occasional protests inside the venue, but mostly outside. With I/O happening in an outdoor space, the company opens itself up to this kind of protest and there’s really no way to stop it. There were also no flight restrictions for the airspace over the venue.
Google, of course, once flew blimps over I/O to show off Google Glass. Those were different times, though. Today, the plane continued to circle the venue throughout the keynote.
It’s a bit odd to see protesters use something as expensive as a banner tow, but it’s not unheard of either. The text on the banner is also a bit of an odd mix of privacy concerns and advocating for local news, but there is only so much you can fit on a banner, I guess.