Google I/O, the tech giant’s largest annual developer’s conference, will return as an in-person event at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, from May 11-12. Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai made the announcement on Twitter on Wednesday.
The conference won’t be a fully in-person event, however. The event will be held fully online, with most of it being livestreamed in front of a limited live theater audience, much like Apple’s Peek Performance event last week. According to a Google statement shared with Axios’ chief technology correspondent Ina Fried, that limited audience “will primarily be Googlers, as well as some partners.”
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) March 16, 2022
According to the company’s FAQ page, Google I/O is completely free, so everyone will be able to watch the event if they want to. Registration for the event is also free, and it will open up later this month.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Google to completely cancel the Google I/O conference to protect its employees and audiences who registered for the event — it even went so far as to cancel the online version of the conference. Last year, the conference returned in a fully digital format, which automatically sent invitations to those who originally registered to attend the 2020 event. Although people missed attending the event in person, they were still able to catch some of the best tech announcements, including Android 12 and its Material You design, Google’s collaboration with Samsung to create the unified Wear platform (formerly known as Wear OS), and an immersive videoconferencing experience courtesy of Project Starline, which is used exclusively in Google offices.
What kind of exciting new Android products will Google announce at this year’s Google I/O conference? We’re going to have to hold our breath for the next two months. In any case, it’s nice to see that the pandemic has waned enough for the conference to come back to its in-person format — at least in a limited capacity.