Google's I/O conference is returning May 18-20 and will be entirely virtual
- The conference was canceled entirely last year because of the pandemic.
- I/O is Google's biggest annual event, where it showcases upcoming software updates and, occasionally, new hardware.
Google will return to its annual I/O developer conference this year after skipping last year's event due to the pandemic. It will be free and held in an online-only format, the company confirmed Wednesday.
Google skipped 2020's I/O conference due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event was scheduled to run May 12-14, but in early March the company announced it would move to an online-only format. It later canceled it entirely.
Calls for product groups to nominate products and speakers for 2021's event went out in January, according to one current employee. Another said that Google had been pre-recording videos for the event in recent weeks. Both asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
I/O is Google's biggest annual event and is typically held at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, near the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California. Its 2019 conference drew more than 7,000 attendees. A Google spokesperson declined to comment on this year's conference.
Google uses I/O to showcase advances in its software and AI, including upcoming changes to the Android smartphone operating system.
Although Google typically holds a separate event for hardware later in the year, it has launched new devices at I/O in the past, including new additions to its Pixel smartphone line.
Some recent reports suggest the company has some imminent announcements for its smartphone lines - maybe I/O is where we'll hear about them.
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