Google officially shuts down Project Tango, moves to ARCore

And that's a wrap - Google has officially pulled the shutters down on its Project Tango program, the initiative launched in 2014 for giving phones a better idea of their location in 3D space and providing augmented reality (AR) overlays through a smartphone's scanner.

In many ways Tango was ahead of its time but now that Google has ARCore and Apple has ARKit, these same AR features - where you can take a video of your living room and see a dinosaur crash through the wall, for example - are potentially coming to every phone, rather than a select few.

The modern day smartphone is fitted with enough sensors and processing power to figure out all the necessary AR calculations without any specialist hardware, which makes Project Tango rather dead in the water.

Continuing the journey

"We're turning down support for Tango on March 1, 2018," said Google in a tweet. "Thank you to our incredible community of developers who made such progress with Tango over the last three years. We look forward to continuing the journey with you on ARCore."

The move makes a lot of sense considering ARCore is now up and running to give developers access to all the augmented reality magic they need - it works with the Pixel 2 and the Galaxy S8 and will be coming to more and more phones further down the line.

Tango only ever made its way into a couple of consumer devices but the work that Google's engineers put in will live on in ARCore, so the enterprise hasn't been completely in vain. With Google and Apple now pushing AR tricks on their phones, you're likely to hear a lot more about AR in the future.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.