Google I/O starts May 11th virtually with a 'limited' in-person audience

Most people will get to watch everything online.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during the annual Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/ Stephen Lam (Stephen Lam / reuters)

Google just announced that its annual I/O developer conference is taking place at the Shoreline Amphitheater on May 11th and 12th with a "limited live audience." This would mark the first time there has been any in-person component of I/O since 2019, but that limited live audience will primarily consist of Google employees as well as some partners. Other attendees will have to tune in to the livestream remotely, just like last year.

The "save the date" Google just shared said that the event this year will be "completely free and open to everyone virtually" and encouraged potential attendees to "plan to tune in online." From the sound of things, Google will just be using the Shoreline Amphitheater as a venue to broadcast from, rather than a place where attendees can gather. Basically, don't book any plane tickets to California, because chances are you'll be watching at home.

Google I/O was canceled entirely in 2020 in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 2021 event took place virtually, like so many other tech events have in the last two years. While cases in the US have dropped significantly since peaking earlier this year thanks to the Omicron variant, it appears Google is putting safety first.

Update, 7:00PM ET: Added more details on Google's plans for a limited in-person audience.