Google's I/O conference is returning May 18-20 and will be entirely virtual

Google's I/O conference is returning May 18-20 and will be entirely virtual
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during Google I/O 2016Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Google I/O is coming back for 2021, and will be held remotely May 18-20, 2021, the company confirmed Wednesday.
  • 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.

The conference will be held May 18-20, according to the invite, which was distributed as a puzzle and cracked by 9to5Google. Google CEO Sundar Pichai also confirmed the dates in a tweet.

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.

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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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