Google is fully canceling its I/O developer conference.


James Martin/CNET

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Google on Friday said it won’t hold I/O, its biggest event of the year, “in any capacity,” even after previously canceling the in-person portion of the event. The announcement comes as government, business and community leaders have made an increased effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The annual developer conference, which was scheduled for May 12-14, would have been held at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. When the physical event was canceled earlier this month, Google said it would “explore other ways to evolve” the conference, presumably with live streams or satellite events.

But Google fully called it off Friday. The company said the decision is in line with a “shelter in place” requirement in the San Francisco Bay Area, in which people must stay home, but are allowed to go out for essential needs. On Thursday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay at home order until further notice. 

“Right now, the most important thing all of us can do is focus our attention on helping people with the new challenges we all face,” the company said in a tweet. “We’ll continue to do everything we can to help our communities stay safe, informed, and connected.” 

Google I/O, which last year drew more than 7,000 attendees, is the company’s most important gathering each year. CEO Sundar Pichai’s keynote speech, in which he talks about Google’s current efforts and priorities, is akin to a state of the union address from the tech giant. In recent years, Google has made its biggest announcements at the show, including the introduction of the Google Assistant, the Google Home smart speaker and Google Glass eyewear. 

On Friday, though, Google said it will still share updates to its Android operating system through blogs and community forums. 

The search giant also said earlier this week that it’s postponing its Cloud Next conference that was set for next month, even after earlier making it digital only.  

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