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6 Google I/O 2022 streams to watch even if you’re not a developer

Google I/O takes May 11 and May 12 this year, and the annual event is where Google entertains its developer community, bringing it together both in person and virtually to learn about what’s new in Android, WearOS, and other Google tools and technologies. But just because it’s primarily developer-focused doesn’t mean there isn’t anything for non-developers to enjoy.

To help those with an interest in Google and Android navigate Google I/O’s many streamed keynotes, panels, and product demonstrations, here are our recommendations of the sessions to watch even if you’re not a developer. Google I/O will be livestreamed in its entirety, and all the streams should be available to watch for free, although you may need a Google Developer account to do so.

Google I/O keynote

10 a.m. PT on May 11

We’ll start out with the obvious one, and arguably the most important. If you’re only going to watch one Google I/O stream, then make it the main keynote. Traditionally, it contains an overview of Google’s current business and where it’s headed in the near future, plus an introduction of all the new technology it’s currently working on. It’s also where any new products will be revealed. We’re expecting the Pixel 6a and/or the Pixel Watch to be among them.

The great thing about the keynote presentation is even if it does get down into the developer weeds, it doesn’t last for long, so don’t be concerned if it gets very techy for a moment. It’s also where we often see some of the coolest new Google tech — whether it’s hardware or software — demonstrated for the first time. Everything from Google Glass to Google’s Duplex AI chatbot system has been featured in the I/O keynote in the past, to give you an idea of what to expect from it.

Settle down for this one, as the presentation can sometimes continue for close to two hours.

What’s new in Android

May 11

there’s no strict start time for this session, as it will follow the main Google I/O keynote and the subsequent developer keynote, both of which have a fluid start and end time. Second, there are multiple What’s New in … sessions following the two main keynotes, all covering Google’s main products including Chrome OS, Google Home, and augmented reality. We chose the Android session as Android 13 will be discussed.

Android 13 will almost certainly be one of the new software products announced during the main Google I/O keynote, and the What’s New in Android session will go into more detail about certain features. Google lists it as a “beginner” session, so the tech talk shouldn’t be too dense, and if you’re keen to get as much information about Android 13 as possible, this will be an essential additional session to view.

Creating beautiful, power-efficient apps for Wear OS

9 a.m. PT on May 12

There isn’t a specific What’s New in WearOS session listed for Google I/O 2022, so those interested in the direction Google is taking with its software for wearables should watch this one. It’s listed as “intermediate” on Google I/O’s schedule, so it may go deeper into the app development arena.

Galaxy Watch 4 Classic showing a cute watch face.
Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

During the session, we may understand more about what Google has planned with Fitbit and its integration into WearOS, as its Health Services platform is specifically mentioned in the blurb. Talk of how future WearOS apps will be designed may also give us a look at how the platform may visually develop in Google’s hands.

What’s new in Android Camera

9 a.m. PT on May 12

Another beginner session at Google I/O 2022 could give us a good look at the way Google is changing its Android Camera app, and potentially what new features will be integrated into it in the future. The Pixel 7 will be one of the first smartphones with Android 13 and, therefore, a new version of Android Camera too, so this may set the tone for Google’s approach to photography on the next big Pixel phone release.

The session also promises a look at the latest camera app trends, which apart from showing how people are using Google’s camera and its AI features, may also give us a hint at features other Android device manufacturers may incorporate in the future.

What we can learn from the Internet’s newest users

9 a.m. PT on May 12

This and the next recommended session are less product-focused and may turn out to be an interesting look at how Google works with and learns from different people and communities. This is billed as “Learning how novice internet users experience the web,” and targeted at developers who want to make their products more suitable for them. It’s a beginner-level session and will include a talk about growth and payment technology.

It may turn out to be very specific, but it may also reveal plenty about how Google sees the internet growing, its design ethos, its commitment to safety, and how it sees the internet evolving as newcomers come onboard.

Africa’s booming developer ecosystem

9 a.m. PT on May 12

Like the Internet’s Newest Users session, this is a beginner-level stream and will include talk about growth and payments. It states that we’ll learn about,“how developers in Africa have grown locally and globally,” and include information about data, trends, and most interestingly, case studies.

App and device requirements in Africa are very different from those in the U.S., and understanding more of what’s happening on the continent at the moment, and what’s envisaged for the near future, could make for a fascinating presentation.

What else you need to know

These six represent the sessions that we think will be most accessible for non-developers. The many other sessions go deeply into the use of Google’s development tools and how they can be utilized. To get something from them, you really need to be a developer, and those without knowledge in this area may not find them very interesting.

However, if you have a decent understanding of app and service development, and an interest in technology like augmented reality (AR) or AI and machine learning, there are a couple of other sessions that may be worth checking out. What’s new in AR and AI and Machine Learning for Developers both specifically mention developer tools in the description, so while they sound enticing, we expect them to be highly technical discussions. Give them a try if this doesn’t put you off.

Finally, we’ve listed the day and time of each session above, but most of them overlap each other. Don’t worry, all the sessions are available on-demand so the time is only when they’ll first be broadcast. You’ll be able to revisit them all, so don’t think you have to choose one and miss the rest.

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