Drones & Cars: Why Google IO will be held outdoors in 2016


For as long as it has existed, the Google IO developer conference has been held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. This year will be different: Sundar Pichai has just announced that it will take place in Mountain View – where Google is headquartered – at a venue called Shoreline Ampitheatre.

Google is hosting their dev conference outdoors? Hmmm. Why would Google want to host an outdoor event? Sure, it could be purely about nostalgia and familiarizing developers with Google’s home, but could there be more?

The reason Google is holding their event outdoors this year could be flying right in front of our face, literally.



If you saw any CES 2016 coverage last week you’d know that drones are all the rage. From little tiny flying micro-machines to ridiculously humongous hunks of metal that border on being helicopters, everyone seems to be making Drones.

Wherever innovation is taking the world, Google wants a piece of the action, which is why they’ve got their Google X labs constantly spending billions on the world’s next generation of technology.

Amazon Prime Air

Amazon may have been first to announce their desire to revolutionize shipping by sending purchased goods through the air via package drones. Their service already has a name: Amazon Prime Air.

Project Loon

Perhaps more quietly, Google has been amassing a collection of flying toys in the form of multi-million dollar projects and companies. Back in the Summer of 2013, Google announced Project Loon, a way to distribute WiFi across the globe by strategically flying balloons through air currents.

Titan Aerospace

Then in April 2014, Google Acquired Titan Aerospace.

The drones made by Titan aren’t your typical consumer drones. These things are larger than commercial airliners and some are even solar powered. This is a whole different ballpark of drones than the Parrot Bebop your cousin crashed into your head at the last family barbecue.

Project Wing

Not long after, Google announced Project Wing, aspiring to build a drone delivery service of their own.

All these acquisitions and projects based on drones and flying robotics must be leading somewhere. It would make sense that when Google is able to finally show them off, they’d do it in an outdoor venue.

Has that time finally come?

Record-Breaking Drone Display

Only a few days ago, Intel put on an outdoor drone display with synchronized flying and music that was more than just absolutely mesmerizing: it broke a Guinness World Record.

Not to discount Intel’s achievement, but I’d bet Google could one-up this pretty easily. Perhaps even outdoors on May 19th at the Shoreline Ampitheathre.

Self-Driving Cars

Another completely logical and equally exciting explanation could be that Google plans to more broadly demonstrate their progress on self-driving cars. Setting up courses and demos in the middle of downtown San Francisco would be next to impossible, from both a logistical and legislative standpoint, but on Google’s own campus which spans further than the eye can see, they’d have unparalleled access to developing an experience that fits the technology.

What else?

The idea that Google IO 2016 will be held outdoors to show off Google’s new drone technology seems completely logical and reasonable, but it’s based on our own speculation and not sourced from any inside contacts or knowledge. The same goes for our thoughts regarding the Google Self-Driving Car.

These are simply two bold but reasonable predictions that we’d love to see become reality this Spring.

While we’re reaching for the stars, we might as well put some icing on the speculation cake: several years ago the Godfather of Android, Andy Rubin, vanished from the Android team to work on a secret project within Google… could we see him resurface at Google IO 2016 with a new robotic flying or driving Androne? It’s certainly possible.


Why do you think Google I/O 2016 is being held outdoors? Let us know in the comments!

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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