Google CEO Sundar Pichai delivers the keynote address at the 2019 Google I/O conference at Shoreline Amphitheatre on May 07, 2019 in Mountain View, California
Google CEO Sundar Pichai delivers the keynote address at the 2019 Google I/O conference at Shoreline Amphitheatre on May 07, 2019 in Mountain View, California

Google cancels its biggest event of the year over coronavirus fears

'Virtual' conference could still take place, company suggests

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 04 March 2020 09:14
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Google has cancelled I/O, its biggest event of the year.

The conference usually serves as the company's launch for its new products and services, and sets the tone for the rest of the year. It also allows developers to meet up from across the world, with the hope of improving the products they make using Google's platforms.

But this year the "physical" part of the event – which was due to be held at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in May – has been cancelled, amid fears about the coronavirus.

Google is just the latest tech firm to be hit by a cancellation of its big events. Summer usually sees tech companies such as Microsoft and Facebook host their annual conferences for developers and keynotes to announce new features to the public, but they have already been called off.

Apple is yet to announce its annual WWDC event, or give any indication of whether it could be cancelled, but speculation is already mounting that it too could be hit by coronavirus fears.

The company had made the decision "in accordance with health guidance from the CDC, WHO, and other health authorities", it said.

Google suggested that it could still hold a virtual version of the event.

"Over the coming weeks, we will explore other ways to evolve Google I/O to best connect with our developer community," Google said.

It did not give any information about the keynote presentation, which normally opens the event and serves as the introduction of new products to the public.

Guests who had already purchased tickets will receive full refunds, the company said, and it asked people to get in touch if they did not receive them. People who were registered will also automatically get the option to buy a ticket next year, without having to go through the ballot.

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