Google's virtual I/O developer conference kicks off on May 18

What software surprises will the company unveil?

Stephen Lam / reuters

After canceling its I/O developer conference last year instead of hosting it virtually, Google is ready to bring back its I/O developer conference this year. CEO Sundar Pichai has announced that the show will run from May 18th to the 20th, following a tweet this morning from the Google Developers Twitter account sending users to a series of puzzles. Engadget is still attempting to crack all of them, but we have the solutions for at least the first two stages if you're interested.

Unsurprisingly, the event will be hosted online only, as we continue to wait out the end of the pandemic, but it will also be free to attend. In years past, Google has shown off upcoming builds of Android at I/O and previewed intriguing AI features like its conversational Duplex technology. While we don't quite know what to expect yet, it's very likely we will see more software news from the company as it prepares developers for what's coming to its platforms.

According to Google's FAQ section on I/O 2021, the virtual event will include Consumer and Developer keynotes that will be available to replay on-demand after they first air. Like previous conferences, there will be technical sessions, workshops and meetups for interested attendees. There will also be interactive sandboxes in something called "I/O Adventure," which sounds like an area for developers to play around with new features. A full schedule is set to be posted in late April.

Though I/O usually focuses on software, Google has also unveiled hardware on this show before so it's possible we might see some gadgets that the company wants to alert developers on. If you choose to register, you'll be able to reserve livestreamed workshops and Ask Me Anything sessions. You'll also receive personalized badges and access live Q&As, as well as the ability to chat in I/O Adventure. Intrigued? You can register on Google's site now.