Google announced that they are postponing their Webmaster Conferences until later this year.
The reason given was concern over the worldwide coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
The Google Webmaster Conferences were a series of conferences held in locations around the world, from Japan to Indonesia and India, over 15 countries over the past year.
Coronavirus concerns first manifested in Google cancelling other conferences, asking employees to work from home, and cancelling all planed travel.
Google’s John Mueller mentioned the cancellation of international travel on March 3.
Canceled all international travel, and unfortunately there aren't a lot of conferences in Switzerland. VC'ing in it is.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) March 3, 2020
And again on March 9.
I'm now working from home, and all international work travel is canceled on Google's side. Various people depend on us (everyone, including you all!) to be "fine & fit" 🙂 – luckily there are so many ways to be involved nowadays without being somewhere in person.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) March 9, 2020
Google Webmaster Trend Analyst Gary Illyes announced the travel cancellations on March 6.
Cancelled all international travel planned for March and April. Thanks, Corona! 😒 pic.twitter.com/2KTKqX3alH
— Gary "鯨理／경리" Illyes (@methode) March 6, 2020
Illyes has been a featured Googler at these events.
So a ban on travel as well as on large public gatherings pointed to the postponement of these conferences.
Will Webmaster Conferences Go Virtual?
Google’s official announcement stated that the conferences will resume at some point in the future and alluded to the possibility of arranging an alternative way to hold the conference:
“While we’re hoping to organize events later this year, we’re also exploring other ways to reach targeted audiences.”
Read Google’s official announcement here: