Google hosted I/O 2024 Demo Slam, opens employee hackathon

Compared to previous years, I/O 2024 felt much more like a developer conference by spanning two days. There was actually a third day of I/O, with Google hosting a new employee-only “Demo Slam” event today, during which an internal Gemini hackathon was announced.

There was no I/O in 2020, while 2021 was broadcast to a very limited live audience in Mountain View. Attendees were invited for one day in 2022 and 2023. After the keynote in 2024, Google hosted live sessions for in-person attendees, as well as after-hours social events.

I/O 2024 already looked like a three-day event, as the pre-recorded live sessions were released on YouTube on Thursday morning, but there was actually another day of programming just for Googlers at the Shoreline Amphitheater.

In an internal email we saw this afternoon, CEO Sundar Pichai – who organized the event – ​​said thousands of Googlers were there, while others internally could broadcast it . He also shared images on LinkedIn:

VP of Android Engineering Dave Burke and others from Google DeepMind, Search and Labs presented what was announced earlier in the week. Project Astra was demoed again, and some of these announcements were later made available to dogfood employees.

Meanwhile, I/O Demo Slam’s Pichai announced an internal hackathon that encourages Google employees to experiment with Gemini.

Googlers can work in teams, with this project intended to encourage experimentation with AI that could lead to new products. Google executives will select finalists who will demonstrate at a company-wide meeting, with this hackathon also offering a monetary reward to the winning teams.

Pichai said Google wants to “create more opportunities for us to come together as a company in the spirit of innovation and problem-solving, focusing on our biggest opportunities like AI.”

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