Google's annual software fest kicks off May 18

The conference, called I/O, is being held at a place Google knows very well: its hometown of Mountain View.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the event will be close to home for the company.

James Martin/CNET

Google is hosting its annual conference for software developers in its own backyard.

The confab, called Google I/O, will run May 18 to 20 and take place at the Shoreline Amphitheater, a stone's throw away from the search giant's corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California.

"I/O'16 coming to neighborhood where it all started 10 yrs ago," wrote CEO Sundar Pichai in a tweet Tuesday.

The conference is Google's biggest event of the year. It typically unveils the newest edition of Android, its software that powers smartphones and tablets, at the conference. At last year's I/O, Google showed off enhancements to its digital assistant service, called Now on Tap, and launched its own mobile payments system, called Android Pay.

For Google, a unit of parent company Alphabet, the event is a crucial chance to pitch software makers to use and build services for its products.

The venue is a shift from the event's home the past few years at San Francisco's Moscone Center, where Apple also holds some of its big events. The change could pose some advantages to Google, like being able to more easily show off ambitious projects such as self-driving cars and delivery drones.

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