Google kills its augmented reality app “Measure”
The final version of the Measure app from Google. Measure a door! Measure a table! Measure things.
Volume measurement and some settings.
Another day, another dead Google product. This time the augmented reality app “Measure” will be put out in the field.
As first discovered by Android Police, the Android app is no longer available via a Play Store search and a direct link to the entry shows a new message in the description: “This app is no longer supported and will not be updated. Users who have this app that you previously installed can still use it on compatible devices. “
Measure was pretty neat. The app used a smartphone to measure real objects through the magic of augmented reality. AR tracks real objects to accurately place virtual objects in a camera feed, and if the tracking is good enough, an app can turn that data into a pretty good estimate of the distance. For applications like detailed carpentry, measuring has never been good enough – we’ve found short measurements to be accurate to half an inch and longer measurements can vary by several inches – but the best tape measure is the one you have with you. Also, the app worked great when you wanted to measure something large like a telephone pole, which would be quite difficult with a tape measure.
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The Measure app was launched with another dead Google product: Project Tango, which charged a smartphone with specialized sensors and enabled early wearable augmented reality on development devices in 2014, and a commercial device, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, in the year 2016. In 2018, Measure arrived on regular Android phones without all of the additional sensors; The ARCore augmented reality toolkit from Google has taken over all of the tracking by the camera hardware. Measure was such a good idea that Apple released a similar app for iPhones in 2018.
Measure’s demise isn’t a big deal as long as the underlying framework that powers it – ARCore – still exists. ARCore handles augmented reality tracking, detection and measurement, and the Measure app simply presents all of this information in one easy-to-use interface. There are plenty of alternative ARCore measurement apps on the Play Store, and since they all use the same toolkit, their tracking and accuracy should be pretty similar – you mostly just choose the UI that you like. Some apps are designed in the style of straight rulers, while others focus on creating floor plans.
Even before Google removed the app, Measure wasn’t a good option compared to third-party alternatives. The app dropped to 2.9 stars on the Play Store, with many users citing bugs and freezes. It doesn’t sound like the app was kept up to date. The two third-party apps linked above are around 4.5 stars.
Google still uses ARCore in products like Google Maps, Google Search, and Google Lens. Also, ARCore got a few new updates and APIs at Google I / O 2021, so it sounds like the underlying framework will stay here.