Google IO 2021 is happening this week, and today is the big keynote, which is hopefully where the company unveils a host of new gadgets including the Google Pixel 5a, Pixel Buds A and Pixel Watch. Plus, we should get our first look at Android 12.
None of this is guaranteed, but we do know the company is kicking off its annual developer conference on May 18 at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm BST, or 3am AET on May 19.
Google IO 2020 was canceled owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, so the company has gone entirely virtual for the 2021 event. You can join in on a variety of developer conferences throughout the week, but the biggest show will be this keynote on May 18.
We have a guide on how to watch along with Google IO 2021, and we’ll be talking you through everything that happens at the initial keynote event in this live blog. Ahead of the big show, we’ll also talk you through what you can expect and any last-minute leaks we spot.
Google IO 2021 live blog
All times are in Pacific Standard Time (PST)
05:50 – So what actually is Google IO? It’s the company’s developer conference, so it’s partly where we hear about new software updates for platforms like Android and Wear OS, but it’s also an experience for third-party developers to attend conferences and learn more about Google’s software platforms.
The big focus is always the opening keynote, but the actual event itself is three days long so it’ll be spread out from May 18 until May 20.
You can view the official Google IO schedule now, where you’ll find keynotes, AMAs, workshops, meetups and developer sessions. Many will be too technical for casual viewers, but you can filter the schedule to only view ‘Beginner’ events.
We can’t predict what you’ll find interesting, but we’re already intrigued by some of the panels ourselves. One such workshop is ‘Create your first tile in Wear’, using the ‘latest Tiles API release’. This suggests that a big update could be coming to Wear OS or its app store, with Google’s team ready to walk developers through the transition.
That one’s more for professionals than casual tech nerds. But we think TechRadar readers would enjoy the series of ‘What’s New with X’ keynotes at Google IO. Topics include updates to Android, Google Play, Google Assistant, Machine Learning (AI), Chrome OS, and smart homes. All of these could expand upon the big reveals of the keynote.
Plus, you can attend AMAs on specific topics and directly ask Google developers about new changes, or go to meetups themed around professional development in tech.
05:15 – Will we see the Google Pixel 6 at today’s big launch? It’s very, very unlikely as often the company unveils its next-gen flagship phone later in the year. That said, we’ve seen a variety of leaks around the upcoming phone in recent weeks so we’re not ruling out the fact we may hear a teaser or something of a hint at the next-gen phone.
04:17 – Olivia Tambini, Audio and Music Editor for TechRadar, says “We’ve been hearing a lot of rumors that the next Google Pixel Buds will launch at today’s event – and we’re hoping that Google has made some substantial improvements to its wireless earbuds.
“While we liked the cute, rounded design of the earbuds, the audio quality and battery life left a lot to be desired, and that means the original Pixel Buds couldn’t hold their own against the likes of the Apple AirPods. They were pretty pricey, too.
“As the next-gen earbuds are rumored to be called the Google Pixel Buds A, we’re thinking that they could be cheaper than their predecessors – Google has previously offered more budget-friendly variants of its Pixel phones with the Pixel 3a and Pixel 4a. If Google can offer better audio, a longer battery life, and a cheaper price, it could really be onto a winner.”
03:02 – Expecting to tune into the event as it happens later today? If you want to, you can watch along through Google’s own livestream on YouTube using the link below. We’d recommend following along on this live blog while you do so though.
02:00 – Welcome to TechRadar’s Google IO 2021 live blog, where we’ll be talking you through everything happening at today’s big tech launch as it happens.
We’ve heard leaks and rumors around a variety of tech announcements, so we may be seeing new hardware from Google today. We’re expecting the Google Pixel 5a, Pixel Buds A and maybe even the long-rumored Google Pixel Watch as well.
Google IO is where the company unveils new software, so it’s very likely we’ll be hearing about all the new features you can expect in the Android 12 update, and there may be improvements for its Wear OS platform as well.
Stick with this live blog when the event starts, and we’ll talk you through everything as it happens on stage.