Google is not one to one to “retire” apps, services, and products, sometimes with little prior notice. That’s true for products that have cost Google a lot of money as well as some products that do make Google some money, it’s even more true for those that don’t. Apps come and go, regardless of their importance or significance, and one of the most recent to get the boot is Measure, one of Google’s earliest mobile AR apps and one that it used to highlight its AR technology even before mobile AR became a thing.
Google may have actually been one of the first to push the idea of using phones for AR and VR but those may have now become just footnotes in history. Half a decade or so ago, Google and Lenovo tried to push the idea which was then called Project Tango in a few commercial products, including a gigantic phone and a tablet. That’s all in the past now, and so is one of Project Tango’s earliest apps.
Measure did exactly what its name says, or at least tried to. Using just the phone’s cameras and some AR and AI magic, users would be able to draw lines in the camera’s viewfinder to measure objects. As magical as that may sound, it didn’t always work accurately but could at least offer rough estimates when a proper measuring wasn’t available.
Despite being still listed on Google’s AR and VR experiences site, the Measure AR app no longer exists on Google Play Store. The app will still work for those who still have it installed but you will no longer be able to find it or even reinstall it if you had removed it before. For all intents and purposes, that piece of Google’s AR history is now gone.
Of course, it isn’t uncharacteristic for Google to pull the plug on apps, especially minor ones like Measure. Google does still have other AR experiences available and seems to be betting on WebXR as the way forward. Given how it has been inconsistent in VR and AR commitments, however, silent moves like this might not exactly inspire confidence.