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Google is going to shut down its once-hyped augmented reality project, Tango

  • Google says it will shut down Tango, the augmented reality platform it launched in 2014
  • The company says it looks forward to "continuing the journey" through its new AR toolkit, ARCore
Google's Project Tango prototype phone
Source: Google
Google's Project Tango prototype phone

Google is shutting down Tango, the augmented reality platform it launched in 2014.

On the one hand, the move isn't surprising. Although Tango has been around for years, it never reached mainstream adoption because using its 3D mapping technology required high-tech hardware made specifically to handle it.

Meanwhile, Google introduced ARCore, a developer toolkit for creating augmented reality apps and experiences, back in August. ARCore still won't work with any phone, but it will have a much broader reach than Tango. Google said at launch that ARCore will work on up to 100 million devices by the end of the year, and that most Android phones released in 2018 would work with the service too. With ARCore's launch, Tango seemed pretty much dead in the water since the new platform will bring augmented reality to more phones with less hardware.

Still, fairly recently Google seemed committed to Tango. The company was still showing off the technology this spring, both at its own developers' conference and Mobile World Congress. Representatives said in May that Google's vision was to see Tango in every smartphone and BMW announced a partnership with Tango at the beginning of the year.

Still, ARCore's software development kit is very similar to Tango's, so although the latter is getting sunsetted, it will live on its predecessor, albeit in a more versatile way.