There’s a long history of Google pulling the plug on products that aren’t working. But that’s not what’s happening with Expeditions.
The virtual reality project that was announced in 2015 had only good intentions. It was conceived as a way to let educators take students on virtual field trips to places that would otherwise, for whatever reason, be tricky to visit. It was meant to be widely accessible, with support for the then-young budget-friendly VR platform, Google Cardboard.
Now, a Friday blog post from Google’s Jennifer Holland (h/t The Verge) confirms that support for the Expeditions app is ending, and the app itself will no longer be available after June 30, 2021. The content isn’t disappearing, though. Holland confirmed that “most” of it will be migrated over to the Google Arts & Culture app as 360-degree experiences.
It sounds like the ongoing pandemic played a role in this decision.
“Engaging students in the classroom has taken on an entirely different meaning this year,” Holland wrote. She later added: “We’ve heard and recognize that immersive experiences with VR headsets are not always accessible to all learners and even more so this year, as the transition to hybrid learning has presented challenges for schools to effectively use Expeditions.”