Alphabet Google
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Second year in a row and CES — the world’s largest exhibition on consumer electronics — is seeing some major pullouts — thanks once again to COVID-19. As the new Omicron variant wrecks havoc in a rather developed Western world, now Google has announced a pull out from the 2022 edition of the event. It has been nearly two years, and yet, the scenario remains unchanged as companies are foregoing their physical presence at events and preferring to go online.

And Google isn’t the only big name to have pulled out. The list contains names such as Lenovo, Alphabet subsidiary Waymo, as well as Amazon, Meta, T-Mobile, AT&T, Twitter, TikTok, Intel, and Pinterest, and now Google adds itself to the list. The company will be shifting to a virtual presence in the event.

Google’s presence has been a notable one in the event in recent times not only because of its status in the segment but also the amount of money it has invested into the event in recent years. Whether its physical absence will severely impact the event remains to be seen.

“After careful consideration, we have decided to withhold from having a presence on the show floor of CES 2022. We’ve been closely monitoring the development of the Omicron variant, and have decided that this is the best choice for the health and safety of our teams. We will continue to collaborate closely with both CTA and our partners to identify and support virtual opportunities, and we look forward to sharing the latest Google innovations with you all,” Google said.

The Consumer Technology Association, the governing body of the show, is putting up a brave face when it comes to the CES next year, despite the fact that 42 exhibitors have canceled already. It is confident that the event will take place (from January 5-8 in Las Vegas) with “strong safety measures in place.” Perhaps it is drawing strength from the fact that it has added 60 new exhibitors for the in-person event since last Friday.

Additionally, its digital access will remain available for people who didn’t, or couldn’t travel to Vegas to attend the event. “Our mission remains to convene the industry and give those who cannot attend in person the ability to experience the magic of CES digitally,” it said.

It remains to be seen if more companies will be pulling out of the event and instead preferring a digital presence, but given that the number of cases is not decreasing, it is a very likely outcome.