We're about to find out what Google has planned for everything from our smartphones to our watches and TVs. Google I/O starts today (Tuesday, May 18), highlighted by a two-hour-plus keynote that will cover all the software updates, machine learning advances and maybe a product or two that the company has been working on. And the keynote pre-show is already underway.
The Google I/O keynote is a must-watch event if you're interested in what's next for Android phones. And it's likely to also include the latest news on Chrome, Google's smart home products, wearable news and especially search. You're going to want to follow along with every major announcement, whether it's through the Tom's Guide Google I/O live blog — of course, we'll be covering the keynote — or watching the live stream of I/O on your own.
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Here's a roundup of all the ways you can watch the Google I/O keynote as it happens this week.
Google I/O: How to watch
Google I/O: When is it?
Google I/O runs from Tuesday, May 18 to Thursday, May 20, with sessions throughout all three days of the Google developers conference. This is the first I/O since the 2019 event — last year's get-together was cancelled during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. This time around, Google is going with an all-virtual conference rather than bringing attendees to its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.
The good news about an all-virtual Google I/O is that it's easier for everyone to attend. And even if you're not an Android developer, you'll want to pay attention to the opening keynote, which begins at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT today.
Other sessions of note include a developer keynote at 3:15 p.m. ET/12:15 p.m. PT today that promises a deeper dive into Google's announcements. A What's New in Android session follows at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT.
Google I/O: What to expect
Our Google I/O 2021 preview has an in-depth look at possible announcements we could hear about during Tuesday's keynote. But we're pretty confident that you'll be getting a detailed preview of Android 12 at the event, since Google always uses its developer conference to showcase the changes coming to its phone software. Likely enhancements include interface changes, new widgets, a one-handed mode, and the ability to launch pairs of apps simultaneously.
Google I/O usually features more than just updates on Android for the phone. We're also likely to hear about Android automotive and TV changes, as well as any new capabilities coming to Google Assistant. Speaking of software smarts, Google loves to use I/O to showcase new features for Google Lens and Google Duplex as well as any other services that benefit from its dominance in search and machine learning.
In terms of hardware, rumors are picking up about the Pixel 5a midrange phone, though opinion is divided on whether that will make an appearance at Google I/O or whether Google will save its phone launch for later in the summer. It seems more likely the new Pixel Buds A series earbuds could arrive at Google I/O, and Google may have something to say about smartwatches and smart speakers when discussing any enhancements to its Wear OS or smart home platforms.