Google I/O Pinball celebrates the event with an online game

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As we said in a previous article that outlines some of the material we may or may not see at Google I/O this week, it is first and foremost a developer conference. This means that the focus is more on things like Chrome, ChromeOS, Android, and Flutter than on the hardware that will inevitably use those platforms. That’s not to say hardware isn’t important to Google: it’s just much less important at an event like Google I/O.

Most years Google takes the time to exhibit its programming technologies in one way or another in the lead up to Google I/O, and this year is no different. For 2022, we now have I/O Pinball, an open-source, web-based pinball game that was built with Flutter, ships in Chrome, and uses Firebase to track high scores from users around the world. (Thanks to 9to5 Google for making this public.)

Four characters are at your disposal, representing Android, Chrome, Flutter and Firebase, and the one you choose tracks your high score. Choose wisely. Well not really. The characters are irrelevant and only serve to change the accent colors on the background and the shapes on the mat. It’s a nice touch and you also see all four characters depicted in the actual game.

After an exciting round, you can choose to share your results on Twitter to challenge your friends or colleagues, and that’s honestly the most rewarding part. There’s also a top 10 leaderboard that you’ll need time to even try to get into. At the moment, it looks like 9to5 Google’s Kyle Bradshaw is up there with a score of 258,240,000, so he’s proving to me that there are real people on this leaderboard.

The whole thing is just fun and a bit addictive. My lame score of 23,000,000 pales in comparison to the bigger numbers on the leaderboard, but that’s okay. It’s a fun waste of time that I might see a few offices get a little competitive with, and that’s really the point. Google is showcasing what’s possible directly on the web with technologies that they’ll be discussing in depth all week, and things like I/O Pinball just put some flesh and blood on the technical stuff that will be discussed. It’s a fun primer for tomorrow’s event, and we continue to be excited about whatever Google discusses.

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