Alphabet this afternoon reported big Q1 earnings with notable year-over-year growth as ad spending returned. In prepared remarks, CEO Sundar Pichai told investors to expect “significant product updates and announcements” at Google I/O 2021 next month.
That tease comes as Google’s “product releases are returning to a regular cadence” following a year of employees adjusting to work from home. After skipping I/O entirely last year, the 2021 developer conference is set to take place May 18-20 and start with a Pichai keynote.
A minor disruption at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic saw Google briefly pause Chrome and Chrome OS release, while prioritizing security updates over features. Version 81 of the browser was slightly delayed and 82 skipped entirely before a return to schedule with Chrome 83 in May.
Android development was similarly, and continues to be, done in a remote manner. Meanwhile, G Suite saw a rebrand to Workspace toward the end of last year, with Google Meet availability expanding and a flurry of new video calling features to meet the moment.
Elsewhere within Google, Pichai said that YouTube Shorts have 6.5 billion daily views as of March. This is up 3 billion compared to the end of 2020 and includes the US launch.
In talking about Other Bets, the CEO mentioned Waymo’s new co-CEOs and also gave a rare mention to Calico Life Sciences. This Alphabet company aims to “better understand the biology that controls aging and lifespan” to ultimately “discover and develop interventions that enable people to live longer and healthier lives.”
To put that in a more grandiose manner, as Time magazine did in 2013, the company wants to “solve death.” Pichai highlighted how Calico and partner AbbVie in February announced that it entered early-stage clinical programs for drug therapies looking at cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, like ALS, Parkinson’s disease, and traumatic brain injury.
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