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May 15, 2017

Google I/O 2017: When is it, where to watch, and what to expect

by John_A

Google’s chief, Sundar Pichai announced way back in January that Google I/O 2017 will be taking place in May, and now that month is upon us. New Googley things will be unveiled this week. 

Google holds an annual conference for developers, engineers, executives, and the media — so that it can discuss all-things Google and Android-related. Developers and engineers use information from this show to get their apps and products up to date with Google’s latest innovation, while the rest of us drool and look forward to what’s coming in the months ahead. 

Now that the dates have been confirmed, we’re updating this guide to keep you informed of all the latest news, announcements, and rumours.

When is Google I/O 2017?

Google I/O 2017 will take place between 17 May 2017 and 19 May 2017 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. Of course, to most of us, it’s the opening keynote that will be most interesting. The company normally uses this to show off all the developments we’ll get on our devices later in the year. That will take place on Wednesday, 17 May at 10am Pacific Time (6pm British Summer Time). 

  • Google I/O 2017 developer event will be held on 17-19 May

Yep, it’s true: I/O’17 will be at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA on May 17-19. See you in 110 days 🙂 #io17

— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) January 26, 2017

Where can you stream Google I/O 2017?

Google live-streamed last year’s keynote, which you can playback here, so we expect it do the same for this year’s I/O keynote. We will update this page with a link to the live stream if and when it becomes available. For now, it’s a safe bet to bookmark the Google Developers’ YouTube channel page, we expect the keynote (and other developer sessions) to be hosted there as usual. 

What can you expect from Google I/O 2017?

Google’s I/O webpage has been updated with a countdown clock and a full schedule. This agenda, plus previous announcements give us something of an idea that we should be expecting the following updates:

Android O


Google usually uses Google I/O to tease improvements to Android. Last year, it talked about the split-screen mode, ability to reply to texts from notifications, and an update to the Doze batter saver. This year, the company has pre-announced Android O, the next version of its mobile platform, and has released the first “alpha” Developer Preview already. 

  • Android O: What’s the story so far?

Among the new features mentioned on the developer pages include new ways for notifications to behave – including grouping types of notification together – as well as adaptive icons, autofill and picture-in-picture. We’ll have to wait until the keynote to get a proper glimpse as to what this means for consumers.

Google is also working on something called Project Treble, which is essentially re-engineering Android to make it far easier and cheaper for manufacturers to test and push out software updates. That means your phones in future will be updated more frequently and promptly with the latest versions of the operating system. 

There’s also a mystery mobile operating system called Fuchsia OS, which isn’t Android. It’s built from the ground up by Google, and is vastly different to Android. Its homescreen is a long scrolling list of running apps, and you can drag windows/apps on top of each other like a desktop computer. We’re not sure Google will spend much time – if any – showing it off, but it’s being developed in the background. 

Android Wear


Google unveiled Android Wear 2.0 last year, which subsequently only rolled out to user devices over the past couple of months. Of course, it launched on two LG-made watches, the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style, which are both pretty hard to get hold of in the real world and still haven’t been physically released in the UK. 

  • When is Android Wear 2.0 coming to my smartwatch?

With that said, it is available on some older model watches, like the Fossil Q range, the new Huawei Watch 2 and the New Balance RunIQ sport-focussed smartwatch. 

Daydream VR


At Google I/O 2016, Google showed us it was interested in going beyond Google Cardboard by introducing a new mobile, approachable to virtual reality in the form of Google Daydream. Since then, we’ve seen Google introduce a Daydream VR headset, Pixel phones with Daydream support, and other manufacturers add support for Daydream. We’re hoping to see more hardware and software announcements.

Oh, keep in mind Google is rumoured to be developing a high-end VR headset along the lines of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Unlike the Daydream View, it would be an all-in-one experience that doesn’t require a phone. Also, on 26 January, HTC’s design lead announced that he joined the Google Daydream platform. Claude Zellweger, according to his Twitter, is the maker of the HTC Vive VR headset and HTC 10. 

Add all this to the fact that Google has included a handful of Daydream-focussed sessions in to its I/O agenda – including “What’s new on Daydream”, and it would seem that the company is planning an update. 

Chrome OS


Chrome OS now works with full Android apps. And, recently, a few new Chromebooks have been announced. Other than that, the Chrome OS space has been pretty quiet. Google has of course denied the rumours of a full OS merger between Chrome and Android, but maybe Google will use Google I/O 2017 to announce new features coming to the operating system or new Chromebooks and Chrome OS devices in the pipeline. Android Auto

Android Auto is Google’s attempt at getting Android into vehicles. We will likely see more manufacturers announce new car models compatible with Google’s system, but it would be nice to see Google executives discuss new innovations for the platform as well. In 2015, Waze (which is part of Alphabet) executives suggested the intelligent navigation system could be added to Android Auto. Maybe we’ll hear more on that? Pretty please?

Google Assistant


Last year, Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, talked a lot about machine-learning advances and artificial intelligence, as well as how they benefit its new Google Assistant. The service is an extension of Google Now. With it, you can ask conversational questions using the “OK Google” command. In the past 12 months, it has been added to the Google Home speaker, Allo chat app, and Pixel flagships – as well as a few other Android phones. 

  • Google Assistant tips and tricks: Master your Android assistant
  • What is Google Assistant, how does it work, and which devices offer it?

Browsing the I/O agenda it’s clear there’s something happening with Assistant this year. The first two sessions “Building apps for the Google Assistant” and “Bringing the Google Assistant to any device” clearly shows the company wants to help manufacturers and developers get its smart assistant used in as many places, in as many ways as humanly as possible. 

Google Home


Speaking of Google Home, Google unveiled the voice-activated speaker at Google I/O 2016, but it’s only been available for a few months now – and only landed on UK soil very recently. It lets you manage everyday tasks, ask questions, control select connected devices, and more. We’re not expecting Google Home 2.0 to debut at this year’s show, but maybe Google will announce new features and integrations. It might even copy Amazon and do a Dot-like version.

Google Allo


Google unveiled its Allo messenger app at Google I/O 2016, though it hasn’t done much with it since. The app is able to create smart replies you can use, and it can decipher information from photos to help provide a relevant response, and it even includes a limited version of Google Assistant. It’d be interesting to see the app offer a full-fledged version of Assistant, or at least add more cool tricks.

Google Allo’s latest updates include integration with Google Duo for built-in video and voice calls, you can generate your own stickers using selfies, and join groups using a QR code. 

Google Duo


Google also unveiled about Duo at I/O 2016. It’s a one-to-one video calling app that works on both Android and iOS. Like Allo, it hasn’t made a big impact since launch. Google might use this year’s conference to discuss the latest on the app, and perhaps address its confusing approach to messaging/calling. So far, it offers Duo, Allo, Hangouts, and Google Voice. Google could try to combine Duo with Hangouts.

Project Tango


Augmented reality was hot last summer, and it’s expected to continue being popular. Keep in mind Google has long been working on Project Tango tech, which uses motion-tracking and depth sensing to build a 3D world onto physical surroundings, and at CES 2017, many manufacturers made announcements about AR devices, apps, and accessories. We will hear more about Project Tango, with sessions planned dedicated to helping devlopers discover how to build for the new features. 

Project Fi


Google’s cross-carrier network, Project Fi, which automatically switches carriers in order to provide more reliable access to mobile data, is now available for Pixel, Nexus, and a few other devices. At Google I/O 2017, Google may announce more compatible devices.

Is that it?

Yep. Google’s self-driving car project as been spun into a standalone business known as Waymo. At Google I/O 2017, we could learn some more details about what’s next, but we wouldn’t count on it. Also, Google has reportedly suspended all plans to launch a Project Ara modular smartphone. The interchangeable phone concept has been shelved to streamline the company’s hardware strategy, it is claimed. 

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