Every year Google's annual showcase, named Google IO, seems to fly by. For 2023 the company used the two-hour keynote to show off a bunch of new kit, revealing the now-already-on-sale Pixel 7a, forthcoming Pixel Tablet, Pixel Fold, Android 14 goodies, and more besides.
Not only that, there was a big focus on AI, in particular the integration of Google's Bard into more services, including Maps, Mail, even third-party apps such as Adobe Firefly.
If you want to jump to the biggest announcements from Google IO 2023's opening keynote, then we've got links to all our key stories below, including Pixel 7a review, or scroll beyond to see the news as it happened step by step, as per our original live blog.
Google Pixel 7a
- Google Pixel 7a review: affordable Android doesn't get better than this
- Google Pixel 7a vs Pixel 7: which is best to buy right now?
- Google Pixel 7a vs Pixel 6a: what's new in Google's affordable phone?
- I tried the Google Pixel 7a – it makes Apple's iPhone SE look like a relic
- Google Pixel 7a suddenly looks like a very appealing phone
Google Pixel Fold
- How much!? Google Pixel Fold is the priciest foldable – but I still want one
- Google Pixel Fold vs Google Pixel 7 Pro: should I upgrade to the foldable?
- Google Pixel Fold vs Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: which is going to be best?
Google Pixel Tablet
- Android 14 is finally getting this much-loved Apple feature
- Google Maps is getting a huge upgrade – and it's coming soon
- Google Photos is getting its most awesome update in years – but there's a catch
Original Google IO live blog follows:
Good morning, happy Google I/O day! It’s still early in Mountain View, California, but there’s a lot to discuss before the Google Execs wake up. This is one of the biggest days in the tech calendar so consider us excited.
So what can we expect to see? Well, after confirming its existence in a Star Wars day tweet, the Google Pixel Fold is the headline story. Google’s first foldable could arrive this summer and I for one am definitely keen to see just how much it resembles two Pixel 7 phones taped together.
There is also plenty of talk around a Google Pixel 7a, the “a” series being the more affordable entry into Google’s smartphone ecosystem. If rumours are to be believed then we could see a lot of it today...
While you’re having your morning coffee let's just refresh the key information for today: the keynote conference today will start at 6pm BST – so you’ve got plenty of time until then to say goodbye to your old Pixel phone. Well, probably.
We’ll be covering the event live but if you want to watch along as well, you can follow on YouTube or the official Google I/O website. We expect this keynote session to last around an hour, but there will also be Google I/O workshops and technical sessions that follow too.
If you're twiddling your thumbs while waiting for the conference, why not try a game specifically built for Google I/O? Flip with Google is a classic card game reimagined with AI. Featuring some of your favourite Google characters, If you’ve always wanted to see the Chrome T-Rex jump fight the Android robot then you’re in luck. While we are most excited about any new hardware being announced at I/O, we might also be treated to some Google Bard (or other AI) news.
Try the game here
The Goog should also be sharing some new Android content with us, several of the sessions today will focus on developing for the operating system, but we’d love to know exactly what Google has in store for Android on the Pixel Fold. The best foldables like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 have their own skins over their Android OS, but Google should have something special for its own device. Foldables aren’t just a fashion statement either, they should help us get more out of our phones too.
If you want to see more on the developer sessions, Google has you covered.
One of the biggest rumours about today is that Google will reveal a Google Pixel 7a. The “a” range is the more affordable end of the Pixel market, but still a very capable phone. The Pixel 6a was a “baby pixel” in both size and cost and while we liked it, we questioned why it was released so close to the Pixel 7 (pictured above), which would drop the standard Pixel 6 to a lower price anyway.
The Pixel 8 is expected (although nothing is official) to launch in October, so the 7a will have to prove its worth for those with a bit of patience who might otherwise be looking to grab a discounted Pixel 7.
What about the Pixel Watch? Google’s smartwatch is one of the best smartwatches out there but we don’t expect to see a successor announced today. The original was only launched in October 2022 so we reckon we might see a Pixel Watch 2 arrive with the Pixel 8 this October.
In terms of changes for the Pixel Watch 2, we’d love to see the watch bring some non-Android integration (sacrilege I know) and improved fitness tracking to bring it up to its Apple rival’s standard. The 1GB of RAM is also a bit lacking. We might if we’re lucky receive an update on the operating system of the Pixel Watch, wear OS today.
Speaking of operating systems, if you’ve got one of the best Chromebooks you might be in luck. ChromeOS is being given some love by Google and there will be an update on everything new in Chrome OS from 10 AM PT, that’s 6 PM UK time. Chrome OS is an open-source lightweight operating system designed to function for ultra-cheap and easy-to-use Chromebooks, very popular with students.
Of course, hardware is what captures our imagination, but the software is just as important if not always as exciting, although Jeza seems very happy about it!
The Google Pixel Fold looks set to be the headline unveiling today, with the brand looking to take their first step into the wonderful world of foldable phones. Last week, we saw the handset teased in a Star Wars themed Tweet.
But now, Google have released a longer video showing off the device. Featuring a host of NBA talent, the video shows off the Pixel Fold itself, along with some of Google's headline features, like the Magic Eraser.
This one is going to be good...
That leaves us with a pretty clear picture of what could be coming – an 11-inch tablet powered by Google's in-house Tensor G2 processor. From the Pixel event last year, we also know it will sport a textured ceramic case back and attach magnetically to a stand for using like a Google Nest Home Hub.
Will we get a glimpse of the Google Pixel 8 today? History suggests we just might!
Last year, the Google I/O event gave us a first look at the Google Pixel 7 range, which later got an official launch in the Autumn. While there's no guarantee of history repeating itself, I'd suspect we'll see something to tease the upcoming range.
It's worth looking out for, too. Leaked renders have shown off a redesigned chassis, with more curves than the current generation, suggesting a substantial change could be coming.
One more thing we're definitely expecting to see is the next version of Android. Recent reports have suggested that the new software is being trialled on devices like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Android 14 has already been in development beta testing for a few months now, and isn't expected to be publicly released for a few more months. That shouldn't stop Google from showing off their hard work, though, and giving us something to look forward to on the next generation of Android phones.
Hi all, it's Mat Gallagher here taking the reigns for the next few hours. As with any event these days, there have been plenty of leaks and rumours, which means we kind of know about the main stuff that's coming – in theory.
However, what I'm excited about is the future stuff. The 'one more thing' equivalents, if an Apple analogy isn't completely inappropriate. Two years ago, Google showed off its Starline project, for hologramatic video calls to make it feel like you're in the room with the person. Last year, we saw the live translation that would work with a pair of AR glasses, which is perhaps the best use of AR I've seen to date.
So what will it be this year? Will we see a new Google Glass? Or is it more about the integration of AI into smart assistants, browsers and apps to make life easier?
Android Auto continues to be an important platform for the company, so I'm intrigued to see what Android 14 means for the service. Vehicle manufacturers appear to be dividing into camps as to whether they are working with Google or going their own way. Both Mercedes and BMW have shown an increased use of Google services in their own systems, but ultimately are offering an alternative to Android Auto.
However, companies like Volvo, Polestar and Ford are continuing to offer models with full Android Automotive systems built in. I do wonder if the Android Auto / CarPlay system of essentially mirroring your phone's OS in your car is merely a blip that has allowed manufacturers to catch up. Or will these phone options continue to stay one step ahead of what integrated systems can offer.
The big news today though is likely to be the Google Fold. We've seen the tweets and videos, so we know it's coming but I'm really interested to see how it's positioned. It's unlikely to outdo the Pixel 7 Pro in terms of spec, but it is likely to at least match the Pixel 7. That would make sense in terms of offerings – providing users with a two-pronged choice to go for best possible spec or that bigger screen.
There's no doubt that the foldable phones market is now a well-established category, with one notable brand absence. These foldables do blur the lines with tablets even more than large-screen phones did already. Do you need a tablet if you have a foldable? Do you need a laptop if you have a high-end tablet?
Personally, I think the flip devices are a more interesting option, as they actually provide smaller phones once again. The Samsung Galaxy Flip 4 being the perfect example. So while we may just see the Pixel Fold this time, I'd love to see a Pixel Flip next year. Maybe about the same time we see an iPhone flip...
With all this excitement around the Google Fold, it would be easy to forget about the other big release we expect to see: the Pixel Tablet. As my colleagues said earlier, we know this device will attach to a stand, turning it into more of a home hub. This feels like a really sensible addition for tablets and one that I hope other brands will follow.
I love having a smart screen in the kitchen, and I also love to use a tablet for video calls, rather than a laptop. So having a tablet that I can use for call and then dock in the kitchen is ideal. I do wonder if we will see a full range of tablets again from Google or if this will remain a single offering.
Well, there's now just over three hours until the show kicks off, so there's not long to wait to find out.
It’s Andy Sansom back here, I was the guy who referred to Google as ‘The Goog’ earlier — I promise I won’t do that again. It’s getting ever closer to the 6PM start of I/O when we’re hoping to see the next suite of Google tech.
If you’ve always wondered but been afraid to ask why It’s called I/O then you’re not alone. To mark the 15th anniversary of the show, Google has offered its own explanation and taken a stroll down memory lane.
In short, the I/O is short for input/output like you would find on a plug switch, and also in Google’s words it means “innovation in the open,” clever right? It’s worth noting that we have had some big moments at I/O in the past, including the first launch of Android way back in 2008, so it’s a pretty significant event.
Oh here we go, some tipsters are already providing "leaked" shots of what we expect to see. SnoopyTech claims to have footage of the Pixel Fold, Pixel Tablet and even the unconfirmed Pixel 7a.
Of course, you should never believe everything a cartoon dog says but that does stack up with what many expect to see announced.
Personally, I'm most excited for the 7a (if it exists) I love having a smartphone that actually fits in my pocket and doesn't mean I have to wear a belt. Most of the best Android phones are much bigger than the current Pixel 6a which is great for streaming but not for me.
We’re starting to see people arriving at Mountain View now for the keynote which should start in under two hours. Don’t worry we’ll bring you everything as it happens right here. If you do want to watch along, feel free but we’ll bring you analysis as it happens.
We’ve talked a bit about the rumoured Pixel 7a but how about the Pixel Fold? It’s very much at the other end of the budget I’m guessing. The talk is that it could be over £1500, maybe more. Hopefully, in the coming years, we’ll see foldable phones hit prices similar to their slab counterparts.
An hour to go now, I expect they’re just sorting out all the HDMI cables and such (I assume that’s how these things work). As for Android, Google is obviously the creator of the operating system, but how will they adapt it to the Pixel Fold? The best foldable phones at the moment use their own custom-made Android skins like The Oppo Find N2 Flip which uses ColorOS. Especially with Android 14 around the corner, there will be a lot of attention on the operating system of the Pixel Fold, it could be a glimpse into how we all use our phones in the future.
Fingers crossed too that those of us with plain old non-folding phones get some nifty Android upgrades as well.
It's nearly time for T3's Tech Editor Mike Lowe to take over as the show starts. We know roughly what to expect, the Pixel Fold, the Pixel 7a and the Pixel Tablet, but will anything else come out of nowhere to blow us all away?
It's a long shot but perhaps Google Glass might come back better than ever? Or maybe Google Bard will be integrated directly into Android 14? There are bound to be some long-term projects that are only just seeing the light of day. The best way to find out is to tune in and stay with us here.
It's almost time for the main event...
I'm baaack. Mike Lowe, T3's Tech Editor, in the hot seat to guide you through Google IO 2023 as it happens. Expect the show to run for around two hours, so it's clear that Google is going to be showing off a lot of kit and a lot of software advancements.
Get your AI groove on
Hold up, what's this? A generative AI experiment? Dan Deacon has taken to stage to warm everyone up with some AI-generated music videos, generated using Google Bard, and created based on the lyrics of his music.
I suspect this intro is going to be a major part of the message that Google is keen to push at this year's IO conference. Artificial intelligence is often touted as the future so it's a big deal for Google – so today's presentation won't just be Made by Google hardware by any means.
What the duck? Crazy Bard-ard!
Well, Dan has very much set a whacky tone. There's a human-sized duck dancing around on stage and more psychedelic shenanigans going on. I'm just going to pinch myself to ensure this is, y'know, actually a Google conference and that parent Alphabet isn't suddenly going into the circus business.
But, really: silly is actually fun. As I don't think the remainder of this keynote is going to be anything but serious kit, demos and major claims, let's just adsorb some of the wild imagination stuff and hope that the supposed Pixel Fold, Pixel Tablet and Pixel 7a are each every bit as imaginative too.
Anyway, I'm going to spend the next four minutes and 10 seconds breathing through my nose and out of my mouth just so I can come back to Earth...
Here we go...
The main event is underway, so strap in and get ready for a two-hour ride through the next 12 months or so of what to expect from Google...
"Since day one we've [Google has] set out to significantly improve the lives of as many people as possible." Told you there'd be major statements, so there's your first one in the introductory video. "We will have the chance to improve the lives of billions of people." Pow! Take another.
Entering the stage is Google and Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai, to kick-off the presentation. He says Google is "reimagining all our core products, including search," so it's all change incoming...
Google Maps update
At Google IO 2022 the company revealed its Immersive View feature – and that's now getting an update to show routes in full. This is a way to pre-visualise the full route in a 3D view, and it'll be coming to 15 cities in the summer...
'Magic Editor'! No, I'm not talking about myself, sadly, rather it's Google's new hyper feature in Google Photos. This is an advancement over Google's Magic Eraser feature, by quite a margin!
Pichai goes on to show-off Magic Editor allowing content-aware movement of subjects, removal of complete sections of images, even the generation of things cropped out of the image - in this case some balloons. Impressive as a demo, but I'll need to see this truly work to be convinced of its viability.
Bard, Google's AI tool, is getting better at problem-solving, maths and language. You can use it to supplement Python programming and more. It's particularly powerful and embedded in Google's apps. In addition to Adobe Firefly integration for image generation, Bard will also support more languages soon - a full 40 in total.
Generative AI in search
Generative AI in search is coming to Google to, well, improve your search results. But not in terms of what appears, per se, more in how it appears and the relevant context surrounding it.
Cathy Edwards, Google's VP Engineering, takes to the stage to present an elongated question - which is quite different to how people typically search today - to show how Google will present contextual answers in an "AI snapshot", even comparing multiple options from the original search query.
It's all about making search "smarter and simpler". Principle to the system is being able to ask follow-up questions for even more dialled-in results.
Ok, we needed Dan's dancing duck back
Well, it's been quite a rollercoaster of artificial intelligence, society, morals, metadata, programming and a Bard-heavy future. The most heavyweight Google IO I've ever experienced.
Can we have Dan Deacon's dancing duck back please? I need some light relief from this AI future. And, c'mon Google, AI is great and all... but where are the Pixel products already?!
Android 14 time!
Sameer Samat, who is responsible for Google's product and design team for Android, is on stage to talk Android 14. Namely that it's the "most complete ecosystem" and how "customisation and expression" will be further developed.
Larger screens is a big part of the theme and Samat all but confirmed that a Pixel Tablet is imminently going to be revealed on stage... watch this space!
But the first big bit of news is actually about WearOS, not Android specifically, and that WhatsApp will be coming to the platform. Woo! That'll enhance your Samsung Galaxy Watch in the future.
Go custom with emoji wallpaper!
Dave Burke, VP Engineering of Android, is on stage to talk about the advancements in Android 14's customisation and personalisation options. Yes, those already exist in a manual form, but this is all about emojis. Oh yes!
In addition to personalised dial to the lockscreen clock and lockscreen shortcuts, the wallpaper now has the option to integrate emojis, pick your preferred pattern, and even pick the colour. The little faces even react when you tap them, for an emojiful and reactive wallpaper.
Bring on the hardware
Here we go: Rick Osterloh, SVP at Google, takes to the stage to talk all things Pixel.
He's only got 25 minutes to talk up what's thought to be a number of Pixel product announcements, so let's hope the good hardware stuff isn't glossed over too quickly, eh? So let's find out what's in store for us all this year...
Pixel 7a is legit
The new baby of the Pixel phone range is the Pixel 7a. It's got a new design, a new camera system, new colours, and a new higher price (it's $499, so $50 higher than its Pixel 6a predecessor). Oh, and there's a fancy Coral finish too, nice!
Now it's time for big-screen Pixels, with Rose Yao, VP Product Management, taking to the stage.
The Pixel Tablet is, as you'd expect, Google's first tablet for a number of years (I count five years, from memory). It's got the same Tensor G2 processor as the Pixel 7, 7 Pro and 7a models, so is a powerful option.
But it's not just a tablet, oh no, it also comes with a 'charging speaker dock' to "give the tablet a home". Interesting. The docked mode makes the Pixel Tablet look a lot like a Google Nest Hub, really. There's a redesigned Google Home app, too, with bigger screens in mind, so the focus really seems to be on smart home control.
The Tablet comes in three colours, is available for pre-order today, goes on sale in June, and is priced at $499 with the charging dock included (although you can buy others for $129 if you want multiples in the home).
Rick Osterloh is back to show-off the Pixel Fold: which, at a super-premium $1,799, is one heck of a pricey foldable phone. That's rather big news, as it's pricier than even the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.
The Pixel Fold is apparently the thinnest foldable on the market, at 6mm thin. That might be true in many markets, but actually the Huawei Mate X3 is slimmer still, it's just you won't find that outside of China and some limited markets.
The Pixel Fold unfolds into a 7.6-inch tablet-like device, which looks great, and the camera system appears to ape that of the Pixel 7 Pro, meaning it'll deliver a superb shots. "The best camera in a foldable" - sounds like a fair claim to me.
Android on Pixel Fold
So what about the Pixel Fold's software? Well, Google Android 14 will have a bunch of updates to cater for larger screens, which is great to hear.
It can jump between the exterior and interior screens when unfolding, in what Google calls 'Continuity'; a double swipe down shade for settings; and split screen options with certain apps able to take full advantage of the additional real-estate.
That's a wrap
Thanks for tuning in, Google IO 2023's keynote is over. The Developer keynote will follow for those who love a deep dive. But that's me signing off for now, to leave you to pick through all of T3's lovely Pixel content...