Google I/O 2024: Everything You Need To Know

Google IO 2023 AM AH 2

Google has announced that Google I/O will be returning to the Shoreline Amphitheater on May 14 and May 15, 2024. Once again, it’s going to be a small in-person event. From the wording on Google’s announcement blog post and the Google I/O website, it does sound like this will be mostly for the press to go in-person and some developers. But it will still be open to all developers online, free of charge.

That’s similar to last year’s Google I/O, which was a single day. This year, Google is back to a two-day conference, which the company has done every year before the Pandemic. Google originally held the conference at Moscone West in San Francisco until 2016, when it moved to the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View. It’s a larger venue, and it’s also right next to the Googleplex. As Google I/O has grown over the years, Google has needed more space to invite more people, do more demos and also do more sessions. So it makes sense.

Now, what might Google have up its sleeves for Google I/O this year? Let’s find out.

What is Google I/O?

Google I/O is the company’s annual developer conference, which typically takes place each May, usually around mid-May. It first started in 2008, and has happened every year since, with the exception of 2020.

Google I/O (which stands for Input/Output) is where the company will typically announce new software as well as updates to its products. Google has a lot of products these days, but a few mainstays of I/O include Android and Chrome.

I/O was always held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco until 2016. Moscone Center was the home to Apple’s WWDC and Microsoft’s BUILD conference as well. However, neither one takes place there anymore, with Microsoft moving its BUILD conference to Seattle after the pandemic. In 2016, Google moved I/O to the Shoreline Amphitheater, which is a stone’s throw away from the Google Plex. It’s a much larger venue and is now outdoors. Making it perfect for Google’s ever-expanding products.

How did Google I/O get its name?

The name, “Google I/O” is a bit of a nerdy name, as the “I/O” part stands for Input/Output. That references the computational concept of interfacing between a computer system and the outside world.

There is a second explanation for the origin, which says that I/O stands for “innovation in the open”, and that does line up with the Google I/O event quite nicely. As Google does spotlight all of the innovation the teams have done in the past year (sometimes longer).

Back in May 2006, Google actually held its first “Google I/O,” though it wasn’t called that. It was actually called the Geo Developer Day and was centered around the first publicly available developer tool, the Google Maps API. It had just 100 attendees and was held at the Googleplex in Mountain View. In 2007, Google held another similar event called “Google Developer Day”. It didn’t become “Google I/O” until 2008, when it moved to San Francisco’s Moscone West.

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When is Google I/O?

This year, Google I/O will take place on May 14 and May 15. That’s longer than last year’s event, which was the first in-person event since the pandemic, where Google held just a single day of Google I/O. The number of attendees was also smaller than normal. In 2023, around 5,000 people attended Google I/O. Compared to pre-pandemic times where the attendee numbers were closer to 10,000 people.

The keynote will start at 10 AM PT on May 14. That will last around two hours, sometimes a little longer. After a short lunch break, we’ll get the developer keynote. This is where Google will dive deeper into some of the more developer-centric announcements from the main keynote.

How can I watch Google I/O?

Google I/O is always free to watch online, and this year, it’ll be more accessible than ever. You can watch all of the keynotes and sessions on Google’s I/O website here. You’ll also be able to watch these on the Google Developers and Android Developers YouTube channels.

You can also register on the site, and set up your schedule to “attend” different sessions and get notifications when those sessions are set to begin.

What is Google expected to announce?

So, what exactly is Google going to announce at I/O this year? Well, we really don’t know just yet. As there’s been very few rumors and leaks about I/O so far. But there are a few things that are a lock-in for I/O every year.

Android 15

These days, Google will typically release the first developer preview of the new version of Android in February. With the first beta typically launching in April or in May at Google I/O. Last year, we did get the second beta at Google I/O, and this year’s schedule for the Android 15 release lines up that way as well.

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Typically, Google will keep most of the bigger features for the Google I/O keynote. However, last year, there was barely a mention of Android 14 in the keynote. In the two-hour and five-minute keynote last year, Google only mentioned Android 14 in passing. And the feature they mentioned – wallpapers – wasn’t even exclusive to Android 14, as it launched in the new Pixel Feature Drop just a few weeks later.

In recent years, the new version of Android has become a much smaller deal than before. Google seems to be making “Android” the framework for its operating system, with all of the user-facing features coming in quarterly feature drops for Pixel and Android. That makes the yearly updates less exciting, but the quarterly updates much more exciting.

Google Pixel Fold 2?

Last year, at Google I/O, the company launched the initial Google Pixel Fold as well as the Pixel Tablet and Pixel 7a. But this year, it’s looking more likely that a lot of that hardware will launch in the fall instead.

That’s a good thing for the Pixel Fold 2, as the original launched with the Tensor G2 processor in June, and by October it was outdated with the Tensor G3. That’s a tough pill to swallow after you just spent $1,700 for the Pixel Fold. And judging by leaks we’ve seen, it appears that the Pixel Fold 2 is slated for October as well, this year. Launching alongside the Google Pixel 9 series.

Google Pixel Fold 2 concept 9

As for the Pixel Tablet 2 and Pixel 8a, that’s also likely coming in the fall. Recently, we’ve seen a new leak showing that Google is working on a Pixel 9, Pixel 9 Pro, and Pixel 9 Pro XL. If that does happen, that could mean the A-series is going away and being replaced by the vanilla Pixel model. Considering both the Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro are almost the same size, it makes sense.

In recent years, the Pixel a-series has received a few price bumps, making it closer to the vanilla Pixel model in terms of price. There are also very few differentiations between the two now. So making the Pixel 9 for around $500, then a Pixel 9 Pro at $900 and a Pixel 9 Pro XL at $1,000 or even $1,100 would make more sense for the lineup. Of course, this is all speculation right now. We’ll have to wait until May 14, to find out if the Pixel 8a is coming at Google I/O or if it even exists.

Google I/O is like Christmas for Google fans

I/O is always very exciting for Google and Android fans. A lot of people refer to it as “Christmas for Android users” and well, it really is. Lots of exciting announcements happen at Google I/O. Though in previous years, those announcements have gotten less exciting. And that’s because most of Google’s products are pretty mature now, and don’t need big updates or big features. Hopefully, Google can surprise us this year.

Either way, we are excited to see what Google has planned this year. Mark your calendars for May 14.

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