Google I/O 2014 protesters: what was it all about?

Google’s I/O conference keynote introduced to the world Android “L”, Android TV and smartwatches running Android Wear – and also a group of protesters complaining about the company.

Google I/O 2014 protesters: what was it all about?

Last night’s Google I/O keynote was punctuated by shouting – first, it was too difficult to make it out over the live stream we were watching, but then it was a bit clearer: “you all work for a totalitarian company that builds robots that kill people”.

Most of the presenters ignored the outbursts, or responded with a light-hearted quip before carrying on.

The protest inside the building appears to have been limited to two people, both of whom are part of Eviction Free San Francisco, according to The Verge.

Claudia Tirado was the first protester to stand up, shouting at Google to “develop a conscience”. She faces eviction from her home because it’s owned by Google’s lawyer, Jack Halprin, who is taking the building off the rental market.

Tirado got into the sold-out conference on a ticket donated by a “sympathetic” attendee, the report said. After her outburst, she was escorted out by security – but first had a chat with communications VP Rachel Whetstone, who said she was “sympathetic”.

A second protester stood up afterwards, shouting about Google making robots that kill people – a reference to its acquisition of Boston Dynamics.

The pair who attended the keynote weren’t the only protesters at the event. A group of net neutrality activists, working under the name OccupyGoogle, protested outside Google’s headquarters before I/O kicked off. The OccupyGoogle Twitter feed said ten of its group were arrested; local police said most of the arrests were for trespassing.

The choice of Google for a target may seem odd, as Google has long been an advocate of net neutrality. But, as TechCrunch noted, the activists think Google should do more, asking Google to black out its main search page for a day with a link to a petition.

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