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Something exciting is happening at 4 p.m. PT today, according to Google I/O swag

Google's conference swag usually includes anything from cute collectible pins to new Google hardware.

Can you see the hidden characters?

I received a package with the big friendly logo stamped on the top yesterday, like many others who are excited to see what Google will reveal at its I/O developer conference this week. Google’s conference swag usually includes anything from cute collectible pins to new Google hardware. This year’s event is certainly more on the former line, but with a twist.

A tiny ceramic mug with the I/O logo imprinted on it, a collection of pins similar to the ones we’d be able to collect if this were taking place in person, and a simple grey sweater with the same blue and white logo were all included. As I put the sweater on, I was confronted with a mystery that took up the majority of my morning.


This has to mean something, right?

A series of characters was stamped into the fabric on the left sleeve of this grey sweater. I didn’t note the stamp until I rubbed my fingertips over it after wearing it for a few hours because it’s the same shade of grey as the rest of the sweater. The characters run the length of the left sleeve and include the details below.:


I started digging because Google has a history of hiding puzzles in plain sight, especially during its annual conference. All I knew who received this package of goodies had the same jacket, which had the same characters stamped on the collar. The numbers on the sleeve form the Unix timestamp for Tuesday, May 18, 2021, 4:00:00 p.m. PT, according to a short scan.

I’ll confess that the rest of the cast is also a mystery to me. But that timestamp, which is just a few hours after Google’s keynote address, must mean something. Is Android 12 going to be available for download at this time? Is this the time when the latest Pixel Buds will be available? Is this a sign that this sweater is about to wake up and demand to be moved to the “nice” side of my closet? I’m not sure, but I’ll be watching Google’s operation about 4 p.m. PT (that’s 7 p.m. ET, midnight UK time, and 9 a.m. AEST) to see what surprises the business has in store.

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