2021 Google IO: The Highlights of the Annual Developer Conference


Updated · Feb 21, 2022


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Last year, we missed Google’s yearly IO event due to COVID-19. On 18th May 2021, however, Google started a two-day virtual conference. It began by unveiling a list of hardware and software it planned to launch. 

The event will run until May 20th, 2021, and the company will stream it live. Sessions will also be available on its YouTube channel.

Without further ado, let’s check out all the fun stuff!

Android 12

The beta version of Android 12 is out, allowing users to install and experiment with its revamped features. 

The main focus is on Material You language that will offer a gorgeous palette. You’ll be able to match your wallpaper with a color scheme of your choice. It’ll be available on Oneplus, Xiaomi, and Pixel. 

There’s more:

Android 12 will have a new privacy dashboard. It will show you what an unauthorized user has accessed and at what time. From here, you can deny permissions as well as revoke microphone and camera access.

Digital car keys

Google will now use NFC on Samsung Galaxy and Pixel devices. This will allow users to unlock their cars when they misplace or lose their keys. 

Note that your vehicle will have to be compatible. We still don’t know which models will work with this technology.

A partnership between Tizen Wear OS and Tizen

If you love Wear OS, you’ll be glad to know that Samsung and Google have joined hands to bring you a better experience. Expect a longer battery life, faster performance, and a developer community.

Google Maps

The company plans to introduce Street Maps to 50 cities by the end of 2021. The app will show Live Views that will feature clearer images and the safest route to use. 

Google cam

Google has updated its software’s camera, allowing it to take clearer photos of people of color. The selfie feature will also take accurate images of wavy and curly hair, unlike before. 

Smart Canvas platform

Statistics show that telecommuting has grown by over 90% in the last 10+ years. 

So, Google has introduced a Smart Canvas solution to simplify navigation between Docs, Sheets, Drive, Calendar, etc. For instance, if you’re using a web conferencing software like Google Meets, you will be able to merge it with Docs using its AI-driven features.

A great addition to this tool will be the Companion Mode. It will neatly tile each meeting participant’s video on your screen. That way, you’ll be able to see everyone at the same time.

Even better:

If you have poor lighting, Smart Canvas will adjust it to make your videos perfect. It’ll allow outside noise cancellation.

Google Photos

The company will introduce Little Patterns. It will use Machine Learning to show you old images. Say goodbye to duplicates and bad takes you don’t like!

Google Search AR

Google Search will now allow users to view athletes in 3D, using augmented reality (AR). Simon Biles, the gymnast, will be one of the sportspeople that you’ll be able to see. It will be interesting to see who else will appear here in the future. 

New privacy controls

Have you ever wished that you would delete your recent history? Well, you’ll now be able to do so.

You will also have the option to lock photos in a special folder and get reminders to turn your location off. 

Improved password manager

We all know the pain of creating strong passwords. Most people have password managers, but using them across different devices or operating systems has always been a headache.

Now, the company wants to make it easier for you to migrate them between different solutions. Password sharing between Android and Chrome will also be stress-free.

Google will also alert you about any breached passwords. If you use Chrome, it will be easier for you to fix compromised credentials.

Pixel Buds

Google hasn’t confirmed this one yet. It, however, accidentally included it in a public email that had the list of hardware and software it plans to launch. So we can’t speak about its new features, but we can hope it will be cheaper than its predecessor.




Eve is a lover of everything technology. Figuring out how software works and creating content to shed more light on the value it offers users is her favorite past time. When not evaluating apps or programs, she's busy trying out new healthy recipes, doing yoga, meditating, or taking nature walks with her little one.

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