"So what would a city designed by Google look like? It would likely include features such as LinkNYC, the public Wi-Fi hubs that are currently being installed around New York City. Dedicated lanes for self-driving cars also seem like a pretty sure bet. In March, Sidewalk Labs rolled out a new product called Flow which it described as a "transportation platform" that uses aggregated, anonymous traffic data to help city managers identify bottlenecks or redirect trains and buses to transit-starved neighborhoods, as well as drivers get real-time parking information during their commutes.
Google originally created Sidewalk Labs with the purpose of reimagining city living through technology, with the idea that New York City would serve as the company's lab. But there are obvious limitations —€” political, financial, regulatory —€” to that concept, which would explain why Google is now interested in looking beyond the Big Apple to test out its ideas.
This could actually be the realization of a long-held dream by Page, who as far back as 2013 mused about "set[ting] aside a part of the world" for experimentation. That off-hand comment at Google's I/O conference spurred a fanciful take in Wired about what a "Google Island" may look like."