I know this is going to be unpopular, but I think Facebook have got their Developer Relations working pretty well.
Rather than expect developers to pay to fly and stay near them, they’re setting up conferences around the world. That way you know you’re going to get locally relevant content and not pay a few thousand bucks to be told you can’t get access to some of the key technologies because you live in the wrong place.
Personally I don’t understand why Google stopped doing GDDs in 2011, because although #ioextended events are a good place for networking, the access to Google staff is pretty limited (they’re mostly at IO). Getting local GDGs’ to organise their own DevFests seems to me to be a bit of a cop-out (who’s to say there’ll be a Google person relevant to the tech you want to know about at them).
Still, I’m sure thousands will flock to the regular crash-laden freebie-grabber-fight that is IO registration tomorrow, the tickets will sell quicker than the freebie grabbers can get their goodies on eBay during the conference, and Google will portray it as an amazing statement of developer interest in their products.
As for me; I’ll save the few thousand dollars it usually costs to attend, book a holiday somewhere nice, and watch the YouTube videos of the sessions from a comfy chair with working WiFi.