March 5, 2020
Google cancels major I/O developer conference amid COVID-19 concerns
The coronavirus has claimed yet another major tech conference.
Google canceled its annual I/O developer conference that was supposed to take place at its Mountain View, California, headquarters, between May 12 and May 14.
In a statement, Google said the cancellation was "due to concerns around the coronavirus (COVID-19), and in accordance with health guidance from the CDC,
WHO, and other health authorities."
Google sent emails to attendees who had purchased tickets promising a full refund by March 13. Such developers will get a chance to purchase tickets to the 2021 I/O conference without having to enter a drawing for the privilege.
Google said in the email that it would explore other ways in the coming weeks to best connect with the developer community. Updates will posted at the I/O website.
The company also typically uses I/O to unveil new versions of Android and showcase new products.
In the aftermath of the cancellation, Google is also pledging or committing $1 million to local Mountain View organizations to support small businesses, increase STEM and computer science opportunities for Mountain View schools, increase awareness and education efforts around coronavirus, and support organizations focused on working with unhoused neighbors.
The virus outbreak has already led to the cancellation of other tech confabs, notably MWC, the vast mobile show that was to have taken place in Barcelona last month, as well as Facebook F8, the social network's developer conference which like Google had been scheduled for May.
As of now, the South by Southwest gathering in Austin that's set to begin March 13 is still on, though Facebook and Twitter have both already canceled. So for the moment is Apple's own developer conference WWDC in June.
However, growing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus will likely put those events in jeopardy as well.
While the cancellations are an obvious economic blow to the companies, industries and developers most directly affected, there is a lot of peripheral damage to hotels, taxis, restaurants and other local merchants.
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