It’s no secret that Google has had very little luck with anything that comes close to being a social platform. It is perhaps less known that it also has had very little luck when it came to 3D content. While SketchUp briefly became a buzzword in the 3D modeling space, Google eventually relinquished its hold on the product just after six years of acquiring it. Now another one of its 3D-related products will be joining its notorious graveyard, once again raising concerns about its commitment to VR and AR technologies.
Launched in late 2017, Google Poly was pretty much a social network revolving around 3D assets. It allowed users to upload, browse, share, and download 3D models covering a wide variety of themes from architecture to people to sports.
To be fair, it may have been an odd service to provide but Poly did offer a repository of assets that could be used in some of Google’s other products and platforms. Those included projects from Google’s Area 120 skunkworks arm to virtual and augmented reality experiences on Google Cardboard, Daydream, and Tango, all of which have now been retired.
It’s not surprising, then, that Google Poly will soon be retired as well. In an email sent to users, Google announced that the service will completely shut down on June 30, 2021, and will stop accepting uploads on April 30, 2021. Users are advised to download their libraries or whatever else they need before those dates.
There are, of course, other places, like SketchFab, that for example, offer the same service and have a more consistent track record. It’s hard not to see this announcement as yet another step away from cultivating a platform and a community of users around VR and AR experiences, something that Google doesn’t seem to be that interested in except as an extension of its Search business.