What to expect from Google I/O 2024: Android 15, Gemini, Wear OS, and more

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Google has had an eventful year already, rebranding its AI chatbot from Bard to Gemini and releasing several new AI models. At this year’s Google I/O, expect the company to make even more announcements regarding AI, its various apps and services, and potentially some new hardware for 2024.

When is Google I/O?

Google’s annual developer conference is approaching quickly, taking place on May 14 and 15 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. The opening day keynote, when Google leaders take the stage to unveil the company’s latest hardware and software, will begin at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET.

How to watch Google I/O

Google will livestream the event on its main website and YouTube for members of the public and the press. You can register for the event on the Google I/O landing page for free to take advantage of perks such as receiving email updates and watching on-demand sessions. There will be an in-person element to I/O too, as has been the case for the past two years, with media and developers invited to attend. ZDNET will be among the crowd in Mountain View.

What’s expected at Google I/O?

Earlier this month, Google shared its I/O schedule online, which included a full agenda of the keynotes, technical sessions, and workshops scheduled for the event, giving us a good glimpse of the major announcements to expect. 

As anticipated from the announcements already made this year, the event’s major focal point will be artificial intelligence. 

In addition to the technology having its own “What’s new in Google AI” keynote, we see generative AI sprinkled throughout other keynote descriptions as well, including a mention under the “What’s new in Android” keynote and another titled, “What’s new in Firebase for building gen AI features.”

Also: OpenAI is unveiling new ChatGPT features today – search engine not included

There are also over 10 confirmed developer “technical sessions” relating to generative AI, focused on topics including the latest Gemma advancements and learning how to use multimodal retrieval-augmented generation with Gemini.

For reference, at last year’s I/O, AI was also the crown jewel, with major announcements such as two new large language models (PaLM 2 and Bard-now-Gemini), new AI features in Android 14, chatbot improvements, and more.

Android news at Google I/O

Similarly, this year, you can expect to learn more about the new features in Android 15, which will likely feature a myriad new AI capabilities, updates to Gemini, and maybe even a new large language model.

A technical session titled “Building for the future of Wear OS” confirms that Google will unveil Wear OS 5, following the launch of Wear OS 4 in July 2023. With the new smartwatch software, we might also get more details on the upcoming iteration of the Pixel Watch 3. 

Also: Google Pixel 8a hands-on: 3 features make this my favorite $499 phone today

The event schedule also points toward new software upgrades across Android 15, Android in-car experiences, Chrome OS, and Android developer tools. 

What we likely won’t see at Google I/O is hardware news, with the company unveiling the Pixel 8a ahead of schedule this year. As for the successors to the Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet, both of which were announced at I/O last year, the latest rumors suggest the company will be holding both devices off for summer or fall releases.

Ultimately, Google I/O is notorious for surprises, meaning you can always expect something no one is talking about — not yet, at least. Maybe the company teases more hardware products. Maybe it’ll announce big changes to how we “Google” things. ZDNET will be covering the event live, so stick around for the latest updates.

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