The misty chill of a May morning, the smell of freshly cut green grass, the sound of baseball on the radio. You know what that means: It’s developer conference season. Up next, Google IO.
After canceling the 2020 iteration of its yearly developer shindig because of the pandemic, Google is bringing IO back for 2021. The conference runs May 18 through May 20, and as you might expect, this year’s event will be fully virtual and free to attend. So the big Google IO keynotes, technical sessions, and interactive demos will all take place in a web browser tab and not on an amphitheater stage. It’s a bit of a shame that developers won’t be able to interact with each other as easily as they would at an in-person event, but at least everyone will save heaps of money on travel and ticket costs. Also, the lines for the bathrooms will be much shorter, and the after-show beers much cheaper.
Google IO kicks off Tuesday with an opening keynote address. We should expect that two-hour presentation to be positively stacked with announcements. Based on previous Google IO keynotes, we can expect walk-throughs of new enhancements to all of Google’s key software products, like Android, web search, Maps, the Assistant, Wear OS, and G Suite. Google will also surely debut some software tricks that make use of its latest advancements in machine intelligence, computer vision, and augmented reality. There’s no better forum than IO—an event closely watched by consumers, developers, and the competition—to demonstrate innovations in those areas.
IO is still more of a software show than a hardware show, but we might get to see some physical products on Tuesday as well. Maybe a wearable, maybe the rumored lower-cost Pixel Buds, maybe a new addition to the Nest line of smart-home speakers and displays. Just know that Google typically holds a separate hardware event in the fall to debut its phones, speakers, and other gadgets.
How to Watch
Google’s presentation will start at 1 pm Eastern, 10 am Pacific on Tuesday, May 18. You can stream it right here in the player on this page. You can also view the stream on Google’s YouTube channel. The feed should go live about 20 minutes before the event begins.