Why Google I/O needs to be about more than just AI

Anurag Singh
Google I/O 2023 logo

Google I/O is just around the corner, but I am not ready for another keynote flush with AI buzzwords. Instead, I want Google to show off something genuinely different.

AI is all the rage in 2024. It has become the focus of most tech companies and has led to the inception of countless new startups. AI is not new. It has been around for quite some time, but since OpenAI introduced ChatGPT in 2022, it has managed to infiltrate almost every tech product we use. 

Whether it’s your smartphone, laptop, smart TV, or smartwatch AI is at the forefront. Even the Samsung washing machine I bought recently has AI features.

Google logo on phone

Google is one of the leading tech companies, and doesn’t want to lag behind in the AI race. The giant made it clear during its 2023 developer conference that AI is its focus. To give you a sense of just how focused they were, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and other speakers mentioned AI a whopping 143 times during the two-hour presentation. That’s roughly 1.153 AI mentions per minute.

Last year’s Google I/O keynote overwhelmed me with “AI this” and “AI that”. Not to mention, some of the promises made during the conference are yet to materialize. For instance, Google Search and Play Store AI features have not seen a wide rollout.

Now Google is ready to go all out for its 2024 I/O developer conference, but there’s just one problem.I already got my fill of AI at the OpenAI Spring Event. While I’m interested to see what new AI features Google announces, I don’t want the whole event to be about that. I’d much rather see more announcements about Android 15, deeper in-car integration with Android Auto, and Google’s smartwatch software, Wear OS.

More hardware

Google Pixel 8a

I know Google I/O is a software-focused event, but that hasn’t stopped Google from unveiling hardware devices during the keynote. Last year, the company announced three new products: the Pixel Fold, the Pixel Tablet, and the budget-friendly Pixel 7A.

The $1,799 Pixel Fold marked Google’s entry into the foldable scene, featuring a 5.8-inch OLED outer screen that unfolds to reveal a larger 7.6-inch display. The new 11-inch Pixel functions as both your tablet and a smart display thanks to the included magnetic charging dock that also doubles as a speaker.

Google also updated its midrange A-series lineup with the Pixel 7A. However, things might be different this year. If recent leaks about the company’s ambitions are any indicator, this year may be slimmer on the hardware front than I/Os of the past.

Unfolded Google Pixel Fold revealing the design

Instead of waiting for the developer conference, Google made the Pixel 8A official on a random Tuesday. But the smartphone hits stores on May 14th, the same day as I/O, so I expect Google to showcase its new phone alongside new Android 15 features.

I will not be surprised if a new device appears during the event. Google has always teased future hardware at its I/O conferences. For instance, the Pixel Tablet was teased in I/O 2022 but was unveiled in 2023. This year, Google might preview its next foldable, the Pixel Fold 2.

AI will still be the star of the show

I’d hate to admit it, but AI is poised to steal the show at Google I/O 2024. There’s been a lot of talk about Google enhancing its prized possession, Search, with generative AI functionalities

These upgrades might even be exclusive, behind a paywall. And who knows, we might witness Google’s take on AI agents, those hyped-up assistants capable of tackling tasks like booking flights and hotels, like a seasoned travel agent would. But, despite all the AI advancements we could see in the future, it doesn’t compare to the hype of a new hardware launch or announcement. 

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About The Author

Anurag is a Tech writer at Dexerto. He is an expert in laptops, smartphones, and wearables. Anurag has previously covered major brands like Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft. He's previously written for publications like Android Police, Neowin, MakeTechEasier, Gizmochina, and more. Get in touch at Anurag.singh@dexerto.com.