The coronavirus has claimed another tech victim. After forcing the cancelation of the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show held in Barcelona every February and some other yearly tech events, the global spreading of the COVID-19 disease has forced the cancelation of Google I/O 2020. The developer conference was scheduled to take place May 12-14 at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California.
In a blog post Google published today the company said, "Due to concerns around the coronavirus (COVID-19), and in accordance with health guidance from the CDC, WHO, and other health authorities, we have decided to cancel the physical Google I/O event at Shoreline Amphitheatre." Google says that over the next few weeks it will look at various alternatives to the physical event so that it can stay in touch with its developer community. One possibility would be for Google to livestream a keynote via the Google I/O app.
Those who purchased tickets to Google I/O 2020 will receive a full refund by March 13th. If your refund does not arrive before that date, Google suggests that you send an email explaining the situation to email@example.com. And if you have already registered for Google I/O 2020, you will not have to enter next year's drawing for I/O 2021 tickets; instead, you will automatically be given the option of purchasing tickets for next year's event.
Traditionally, Google has introduced new features of the next Android build during the developer conference. And Google employees also hold talks with developers discussing different topics. Some of these sessions could also be livestreamed to developers.
Facebook has already canceled its F8 developer conference scheduled for May and Microsoft has done the same for its 2020 Game Developers Conference which was supposed to take place this month. Apple's WWDC 2020 developer conference, typically held in June, could also be at risk.
Most companies are taking the safe route this year and with no end to the spread of the coronavirus in sight, we might see other events get canceled as well. IFA 2020 is scheduled to take place in Berlin from September 4th through September 9th. Half a year away, the show's organizers still have some time to decide whether they need to pull the plug on this year's event.