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At I/O 2024 ‘Demo Slam,’ Google launched employee Gemini hackathon



Compared to past years, I/O 2024 felt much more like a developer conference by spanning two days. There was in fact a third day of I/O, with Google hosting a new “Demo Slam” event just for employees today where an internal Gemini hackathon was announced.

There was no I/O in 2020, with 2021 streamed in front of 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-hour social events.

I/O 2024 already felt like a three day event, since the pre-recorded live sessions were released to YouTube on Thursday morning, but there was in fact another day of programming just for Googlers at the Shoreline Amphitheatre. 

In an internal email viewed by us this afternoon, CEO Sundar Pichai — who hosted the event — said thousands of Googlers attended, with others internally able to stream it. He also shared images on LinkedIn:

Android engineering VP Dave Burke and others from Google DeepMind, Search, and Labs showed off what was announced earlier in the week. Project Astra was once again demoed, and some of those announcements were then made available to employees to dogfood. 

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

Googlers can work in teams, with this project meant to encourage AI experimentation that could end up resulting in new products. Google executives will select finalists that will demo at a company-wide meeting, with this hackathon also offering a monetary prize for 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, focused on our biggest opportunities like AI.”

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