What you need to know
- Google has released a free online pinball game to celebrate Google I/O 2022.
- The game can be played in your browser, regardless of whether you're on a computer or smartphone.
- With Pinball I/O, Google is showing off the flexibility of its Flutter and Firebase developer tools.
We're less than 24 hours away from Google I/O 2022 kicking off, and Google has a bit of last-minute fun to share. Clearly done in an effort to build up some excitement ahead of tomorrow's keynote, I/O Pinball is a new game that you can play right in your Chrome browser.
It works just as you would expect any other pinball game to work, as there are four different mascots to choose from, including the Android Bugdroid, Chrome Dino, and others. If you choose to play from a desktop-class version of Google Chrome, then you can use the Space Bar to launch the ball, while the left/right arrows or A + D control the flippers.
As you might expect, I/O Pinball also works on the best Android phones right from the Chrome app. But this time around, everything is touch-based, as you'll need to tap on the left and right sides of the screen to control the flippers. Launching the ball is as easy as pressing and holding onto the display until the ball is deployed.
We've spent a few minutes with the game and you are instantly greeted with several different areas to reach in order to score points. Dash's nest is found in the top right, while Sparky's "office" is found under the ramp to the Android Bugdroid spaceship can be accessed by getting your ball up the ramp.
Instead of just building a boring pinball game, Google has gone the extra mile with I/O Pinball. You can activate multi-ball by rolling your ball over various areas to spell out GOOGLE, and if you get the ball into Dino's mouth, the ball is spat back out in another area of the board.
Along with trying this out in Chrome on the Mac, we fired it up on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, and haven't been met with many issues. The only real hiccup that we found was when trying to add the I/O Pinball web app to the Fold 3's Home Screen. Until the app was downloaded, the experience was very jittery, but that was remedied as soon as the notification appeared to let us know that the Pinball was installed.
It may not really seem like much, but it's just Google flexing its muscles a bit, showing off what you can do from the browser. There's even an accompanying Medium post explaining how the game was put together. Plus, it's a great way to waste some downtime leading up to the event. The Google I/O 2022 keynote is set to kick off at 10 am PT/1 pm ET on Wednesday, May 11, and you'll be able to join along to watch it with the rest of the world.