Over the last few weeks, tech-related trade shows and conferences have been dropping like flies. Less than a month after the GSMA canceled this year’s Mobile World Congress show, Facebook, Microsoft, Adobe, and Google have all canceled events, while NVIDIA and others have moved events online.
Now Google has announced it’s canceling its annual Google I.O developer conference, where the company typically shows off new features coming to Android, Chrome OS, search, Google Assistant, and other products and services.
Google I/O had been scheduled to take place from May 12 – 14, but like many of the other events mentioned above, the conference brings together thousands of people from around the world to gather in one place… which is exactly the sort of thing that helps spread an infectious disease like COVID-19 (the disease caused by the coronavirus).
So Google will be issuing refunds to folks that have purchased tickets, and the company says folks who registered for this year’s conference won’t have to enter a lottery to try to win the chance to get one of the limited tickets that will be available next year — they’ll automatically have the option of buying Google I/O tickets.
It’s possible that Google will still offer some sort of virtual conference — a letter sent to participants says the company is canceling the “physical” event this year. But Google typically provides live streams of many of the keynote speeches and panels. Perhaps those will still take place this year?
A #GoogleIO update.
Due to concerns around the coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve decided to cancel this year’s physical event at Shoreline Amphitheatre. It’s sad that we won’t be able to gather as a developer community but your health and safety is our priority. (1/2)
— Google Developers (@googledevs) March 3, 2020
It also may not be entirely coincidental that Google announced today that it would be rolling out free access to premium Google Hangouts Meet features for all G Suite and Ge Suite for Education customers.
The idea is to make it easier to hold online meetings and presentations at a time when traveling to large-scale gatherings might not be the best idea. So customers will now be able to:
- Host meetings with up to 250 participants per call
- Live stream to up to 100-thousand viewers within a domain
- Record meetings and save them to Google Drive.