Google I/O 2018 is a Bustling Metropolis

Google I/O 2018, the massive, three-day, must-attend developer conference at Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA, squeezes in more collaboration, fun and product unveilings every year. I/O brings together developers from around the globe for talks, hands-on learning with Google experts and a first look at Google’s latest developer products.

Developer City

The impressive, custom event experience, plays host to over 7,000 attendees and is jam-packed with experiences, information and products to see, hear, touch, and enjoy. The Google I/O 2018 custom design is a developer’s dream metropolis. The campus spans over ten acres and activates over 80,000 sq. ft. of Breakouts, 20,000 sq. ft. of Sandbox and Codelabs, a 20,240 sq. ft. Main Street, 16,000 sq. ft. of shade and rain structures, and an Eats Market just over 11,000 sq. ft. From day programs to night programs and back, the entire property resets and flips at lightning speed. Every detail is carefully crafted from custom dynamic structure facades to thoughtfully designed wayfinding signs and magic moments sprinkled throughout Main Street, the event’s central thoroughfare, and beyond.

Day 1 kicks off with a Keynote session by Google CEO Sundar Pichai that’s jam-packed with big announcements. Here are a few. Google Assistant gets six new voices, including John Legend. Attendees get their first glimpse of the new Android P update available to developers and anyone else who wants to install it on their Pixel. Gmail sports a cool new feature that uses machine learning to predict entire phrases, not just words, as you type an email. Using text-to-speech, deep learning, AI, and more, a new Google Assistant feature, Duplex, makes a real call to a hair salon, converses with a salon employee and books an actual haircut appointment for the user.

Outside the Amphitheater stage, attendees soak in more information and knowledge throughout the event’s eight breakout stages. The stages feature three days of content in 175+ sessions on topics such as What’s New in Chrome DevTools, Accessibility for AR and VR and Machine Learning and Medicine.

The Sandbox

The Google I/O 2018 technology showcase lives in the Sandbox—Assistant, Cloud/Flutter/Firebase, Android & Android Auto, Web/Payments, Design & Accessibility, VR/AR, IoT, Experiments, Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence, and Waymo. Standalone, colorful geodesic domes house most of the Sandbox environments dotted across the Google city where attendees can explore, learn and play with Google products and platforms via interactive demos, physical installations and more.

At the IoT dome, Google demonstrates how their products work together to improve everyday experiences and help build for the future. Inside, the beautiful ML flower garden is on display, where attendees interact with motion & emotion-sensing flowers. ML flowers are also scattered around the sandbox as part of a fun scavenger hunt for attendees; participants receive an Android Things developer kit. In the Experiments Dome, Google showcases the top selections from thousands of amazing Chrome, Android, AI, AR, and other coded experiments from the past decade.

The Accessibility & Design dome features both the latest evolution of Material Design and Accessibility products across Alphabet. Google’s Accessibility engineering team reveals Lookout, a new app that helps blind or visually impaired people get more information about the world around them. Over at the AR/VR Dome, ARCore and Daydream are highlighted. Sessions include how to incorporate ARCore in app development as well as the new Lenovo VR headset showcase. These are just a few of the many amazing product experiences found in the Google I/O 2018 Sandbox.

Office Hours

Office Hours gives attendees the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Google experts and get answers to all their technical questions. And over at Codelabs, developers get hands-on experience at Google’s ready-to-code kiosks as they learn about the latest and greatest Google technologies.

I/O Extended
This year, the Google I/O 2018 event centers on celebration of the global developer community; at the event and literally around the world. The experience design focuses on reinvigorating people versus reinventing the event. A primary goal is to engage attendees with relevant content and assure them that we hear—and act—on their feedback. For those unable to attend the awe-inspiring three-day developer festival, Google extends their reach to thousands of developers around the globe through I/O Extended events. These virtual events motivate, inspire and connect the developer community. This year there are more than 500 I/O Extended viewing parties around the world with many more joining online.

The Nightlife

Google I/O 2018 is home to not just the hottest tech on the planet—the nightlife is amazing too. As Day 1 turns to night, content stages transform into houses of fun, such as I/O Bouncy World where Googlers get their hops on or Sumo up in Android puffy suits for one-on-one bumps and battles in the ring. The Android Arcade houses classic games from the 70’s and 80’s like Skeeball, Air Hockey and PacMan. Turbo Drive spins the beats while analog game lovers do battle. The Museum of Developer Art, MoDA, features the digital art of Freeka Tet, Harald Haraldsson, Kate Hollenbach, and Adam Ferriss with the UCLA Arts Conditional Studio. The large LED compositions, videos and digital interactives push art boundaries in ways that only developers can. And on yet another stage, magic men Kevin Blake, David Gerard and David Kwong surprise and delight with tricks and illusions, while Elizabeth Messick roams the party playing her tech-based tricks and mesmerizes with her Google Pixel wizardry.

Music is everywhere and soaks the After Hours party. The Totem Stage lights it up with three musical groups—Mission Delirium, Googapella and the Eclecta Quartet. Elsewhere, DJ Nneoma supplies the jams. The Future Music Stage showcases the futuristic sounds of Dustin Wong with his electric guitar and multiple foot pedals as well as Dan Deacon’s crowd-revving electronic music. The Exchange Stage is the perfect place to dance the night away to the DJ sounds of Arumi and Lady Ryan. DJ Jaji spins the beats at the Eats & Beats stage off Main Street. The Shopping Cart DJ roams the village with his neon-colored LED cart to supply more music, dancing and loads of fun. Night two, the music drives on as Google I/O 2018 attendees pour into the amphitheater for an exclusive concert featuring Phantogram and Justice.

Street performers like graffiti artist Maggie Wang as well as digital caricaturist artists Zach Trenholm and Jeremy Sutton bring a spontaneous vibe to the party. The Bumbys offer party-goers “a fair and honest appraisal of their appearance.” And the Dancing Cotton Candy Man and Balloon Guy share their creations with delighted guests.

The Food

And don’t forget the food. Attendees order up at the EATS Diner where they enjoy a wide selection of tasty comfort food creations amid a whimsy and futuristic city diner vibe. And night-time snacks come to life over at the I/O Cereal Party—Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, Cinnamon Toast, and Kix transport guests back to Saturday mornings watching cartoons.

To check out more, including full videos of content sessions, visit the Google I/O 2018 website.


  • Google’s 3-day premier annual developer gathering
  • 10,000 attendees; “Make Things Great Together” theme
  • 10-acre Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA
  • 2 Keynotes, 164 Technical Sessions, 12 Product Sandboxes, 70 Codelabs and 150 Office Hours
  • 17 After Hours Activations and concert featuring Phantogram and Justice
  • 525 I/O Extended global events, 11.3M VOD, 1.49M livestream views

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