What is Google I/O? It’s an annual developer conference where Google announces new hardware, software, and various updates for its existing apps and services.
When and where is Google I/O? The event kicks off Tuesday, May 8, and ends Thursday, May 10. It will take place at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.
How to watch Google I/O? As every year, Google will live stream its keynote. We’ll embed the video as soon as it becomes available.
Are tickets still available? Google uses a raffle system and selects attendees at random among those who have registered on the company’s website. The lucky winners still have to pay for tickets, which cost $1,150 (general admission), $750 (community), and $375 (academic). Registration for the event has closed and Google has already notified raffle winners via email, so tickets aren’t available anymore.
What to expect at Google I/O 2018?
There’s no official word on what Google will announce at its I/O conference, but we’ve heard a few rumors that give us some ideas. Nothing has been confirmed yet, so take the info below with a grain of salt.
1. Android P
Google released the first Android P Developer Preview at the beginning of March, which features enhanced notifications, notch support, indoor navigation, and much more. At Google I/O, we’ll likely get to know a lot more details about the next version of the operating system. Google is expected to launch the Beta Program for Android P at the event, allowing users to get the beta version of the OS via an OTA update. We’ll also probably hear more about Android P’s new features.
The next version of Android could be called Pistachio Ice Cream.
Google likely won’t reveal the name of the OS at the event — that’s expected to happen a few months later — but the company has already hinted what it may be called. The clues in the puzzle for figuring out the date and location of the upcoming I/O conference included a pineapple cake, spurring rumors the OS might be named after the tasty dessert. Some rumors also claim that the OS could be called Android Pistachio Ice Cream, as it is currently referred to internally. Anything is possible, but we don’t think Google would reveal the true name of the OS so soon. The company is likely just playing games with us, same as in previous years.
2. Wear OS
Google rebranded Android Wear to Wear OS in March. The new name is said to better reflect the company’s vision for the platform, especially since Google’s watches now work with iPhones. Just a few weeks later, Google released the Android P Developer Preview for Wear OS, which brings features like a dark UI system theme and much more to smartwatches.
At Google I/O, the company may release a consumer beta of the update, which could have loads of additional features on board. Google has revealed I/O’s schedule, hinting that we can expect to see something new in this area. A session called “What’s new in Wear OS by Google” will take place at the event, as shown in the image below.
Android Wear 2.0 was announced back in February 2017. It brought many new features to the table but didn’t exactly increase demand for Android smartwatches. Apple is still the largest player in the market, which means Google has to improve the operating system further to grab more attention, bring additional hardware partners on board, and increase the overall market share of the OS.
3. Google Assistant improvements
Google’s Assistant is already loaded with features that allow you to perform various tasks with voice commands. However, there’s a good chance the company will announce a few additional features for the virtual assistant during its I/O conference.
Additionally, Assistant could come to more countries. It currently supports 15 languages, but the plan is to bring that number to over 30 by the end of the year. Assistant could also become bilingual and make its way to Chromebooks.
It’s possible that Google will also talk more about the Routines feature, which let Assistant users do multiple things at once with one voice command. For example, saying “Good Morning” could prompt Assistant to turn on the lights in your house, adjust the thermostat, and put on some music.
Routines went live in March, but the feature does have a lot of limitations. For example, you can’t program your Assistant-enabled washing machine to start up when you leave for work, nor can you tell your smart remote to turn on the TV when you get home. Maybe Google will announce these features and more for Routines at its I/O conference, although nothing has been confirmed yet.
4. Android TV stick
A Google-branded Android TV stick has passed through the FCC, hinting that it might be unveiled soon. Although not confirmed, there’s a good chance it will make its debut at the I/O conference in May.
Google’s stick will go head to head with products such as Amazon’s Fire TV. It should transform your dumb television into a smart one, giving you access to various streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and loads of others. It may come with a voice-enabled remote for controlling the device with the help of Google’s Assistant.
The FCC listing reveals that the upcoming Android TV stick can stream 4K video, is powered by the AmLogic S905X chipset, and has 2GB of RAM. No word on pricing, but it’s safe to say it will cost more than the Chromecast Ultra that goes for $70.
5. Google Photos improvements, .app domains, smart displays…
We expect to see a number of other exciting announcements at Google I/O 2018, but it can be hard to forecast which ones. However, we can make some educated guesses as well as predictions based on the sessions taking place at the event.
Google will introduce the .app domain name at the conference, which it bought for $25 million back in 2015. Launching on May 8, .app is “the web’s first secure-only open top-level domain (TLD) for mobile apps and developers.”
The company will also be holding a session called “What’s new in Google Photos”. That means we expect to see a few new features added to the popular service, although there’s no word on which ones exactly.
Google could also talk more about smart displays, which we first saw at CES back in January, and make a few VR-related announcements. But these are just speculations for now, so we’ll have to wait for the event to find out whether they are correct or not.
There you have it! These are some of the most interesting rumors and possible announcements for the upcoming Google I/O conference. We’ll update this post as soon as we hear more to keep you up to speed with all the latest.
Meanwhile, let us know which rumored announcements are you most excited about in the comments below.