Google IO 2017: dates, schedule and rumors for Google's big developer conference


Update: Google has announced the best Android apps of the past year, with the ultimate 2017 Google Play Awards winners to be crowned at IO. The nominees count apps across categories, including Best TV Experience, Best Multiplayer Game, Best Android Wear, Best Social Impact and Standout Startup. They’re worth checking out.

The official Google IO 2017 schedule is also out now, so if you’re attending or want to know what Google has cooking, there’s plenty to digest.

Original article below…

It’s time once again to gear up for Google IO, the search giant’s annual developer conference that’s always full of surprises. Actually, scratch that: Google is calling this year’s event an “outdoor developer festival”, so grab your party hat and get ready to celebrate all things Android, Chrome, and more.

The Google IO 2017 dates are May 17 through May 19, and it’s all going down at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif.

The official Google IO 2017 schedule is also out now, letting attendees and those watching at home get a taste of what Google has cooking.

We’re still digesting everything Google announced at IO 2016, including Google Assistant, Google Home, the Allo and Duo apps, details on Android Nougat, the Daydream VR platform, Android Wear 2.0 and Android Instant Apps. 

This year’s event looks to be just as action-packed, or at least we’re led to believe there will be extra pep in Google’s step based on how the IO dates and location were revealed. Earlier this year, Google released an elaborate puzzle for developers to solve in order to unearth the details. 

If you’re a developer and interested in Google IO 2017 registration, hop over to the Google IO website to begin the sign-up process (note: you must be invited in order to register). Attending IO is no cheap undertaking: A general admission Google IO 2017 ticket costs $1,150 (about £930, AU$1,535).

While this “festival” is geared towards developers, it’s also relevant for anyone interested in Android, Chrome, phones, tablets, smart home devices, new applications, virtual reality and, among other moonshots, self-driving cars

To get ready for the main event, read on for all the news and rumors we’ve heard so far about Google IO 2017! 

Say hello to Android O

The star of IO, as is tradition, will be the newest flavor of Android. Following in alphabetic order – Android Nougat is the most recent release – Google will officially welcome Android O come May.

While we don’t know the next version of Android’s official name yet (are we in for another public submission process?), Android Oreo seems to be the front-runner right now.

What will likely happen is Google will talk about its next mobile OS update at IO, yet hold off launching it till later in the year. Considering Android 7.0 Nougat didn’t publicly release until August 2016, this will probably be the case with Android O. 

But what exactly are we in for with Android O? Christmas came early as Google announced the Android O developer preview in mid-March, giving us a look at some early features available in the operating system.

One of the most exciting features of the early build is ‘Background limits’. This will make apps less taxing on your device’s battery by making limits more transparent to developers. The feature looks to do for your battery life what Data Saver did for wireless bills. 

Android O also currently houses picture-in-picture for watching videos while doing other tasks, updates to notifications, including snooze, and animation support for all app icons. 

One final Android O goodie of note is that Sony worked with Google to bring the company’s LDAC codec to Android O devices, which will deliver improved audio quality over Bluetooth to your devices.

As Android looks to stay competitive with the iOS operating system, also look for Google to talk up any and all ways Android O bests Apple’s platform.

What’s the word on Android Wear 2?

Android Wear 2 launched in February, so while it’s unlikely Google will announce a major update to its revamped wearable operating system at IO, we expect there to be some talk related to the wrist. 

For starters, if Android Wear 2.0 hasn’t arrived on all old smartwatches by then, we could be in for an announcement regarding that very thing. 

We wouldn’t be surprised if Android Wear 2 apps are announced, and we could even see a brand-new smartwatch. No rumblings of said watch have started yet, but there’s plenty of time before the show. 

With Motorola the biggest hold out of the latest version of Android Wear to date, perhaps a spectacular Google IO reveal is in store? Just a thought.

Google Home invasion

Google introduced its first smart speaker at Google IO 2016 in the form of Google Home (how many times can you write “Google” in a sentence, amiright?), and this year could see an updated version of the device or new features made available to the original.

One of the more robust rumors is that Google is planning to add phone calling to Home, allowing users to communicate via voice through the speaker.

Considering Google already has the Project Fi and Google Voice services, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for Google Home to suddenly find its calling chops. Phone calling is also reportedly in the running for chief rival Amazon Echo, which puts the pressure on Google to deliver the feature sooner rather than later.

Another report, this time from early April, says Google is considering an updated Home smart speaker that doubles as a mesh Wi-Fi router. 

The device would act as a personal assistant and internet router in one, and presumably like Google Wifi would need multiple units to create a mesh network. 

A few points against updated hardware or major new features are that Google Home added one of its most requested features, multiple user support, in mid-April and the device just went on sale in the UK. Still, if Google is working to improve Google Home, chances are we’ll see whatever is in store at IO.

Google Chrome improvement

Another area of focus at Google IO will be Chrome, and this could include everything from new Chromebooks to improved browser features. 

The most likely developments we’ll hear about are features such as Android apps working on all future Chromebooks. As Google and other tech giants look to more closely tie mobile and computing operating systems together, Google will almost certainly discuss how it’s accomplishing this for the benefit of developers, and the audience watching at home.

There are also whispers spreading Google is preparing an ad-blocker built into Chrome. It’s almost impossible ad revenue-dependent Google would block every ad on Chrome, so it’s more likely Google will introduce a tool that filters out the most offending ads. Perhaps we’ll meet this quasi-ad blocker at IO.

New Google Pixel phones? Perhaps

Google announced the Pixel and Pixel XL phones in October 2016, but rumors have been heating up that already the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL and even a Pixel XXL are in the works.

It’s possible Google could unveil new mobile devices at IO 2017, though we’re putting this in the not-very-likely category. 

Not only is the distance just a little too close to the first devices’ release, but Google’s head of hardware said Google is planning to stick to an annual release cycle with the devices, which puts a launch date later in the year. He did, however, confirm new Pixel smartphones are coming, and if a recent Google investment in LG Display is anything to go by, the new Pixel phones will have curved OLED screens.