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Google I/O 2021 set for May 18 through May 20, free for the first time

Google I/O is back and will take place in May

Google has announced the dates for its annual developer conference, Google I/O, and it will be totally virtual and free to watch online.

The annual conference is where Google shows off its latest changes to the Android operating systems as well as some new concepts or software. Google I/O was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus and returns in 2021 as a virtual-only event.

Google I/O will take place on May 18 through May 20 and will be broadcast entirely online. Google made the announcement through an interactive puzzle posted to its Google events website. Those who wish to reveal the dates on their own must pass elementary coding questions and puzzles.

Like Apple's WWDC, Google I/O would invite developers around the world for in-person announcements and developer sessions. There was always a lot of fanfare around the event and Google often attempted to make the primary keynote entertaining.

The conference will likely remain much the same, just broadcast online for anyone to watch for free. Sessions and the main keynote were always streamed or published online for free viewing, but developers had to pay to show up in person. Google will not be charging for any sessions or the conference as a whole due to its digital nature this year.

The pandemic isn't quite over and companies continue to turn to digital formats for events and presentations. It will be difficult to determine if companies like Apple will want to return to in-person events given the reception of its digital events.