The great virtual reality experiment has not made VR into a household name but that doesn’t mean it was petty useless. There are in fact a lot of VR apps that have been of great use, especially to educators and students who want to bring more experiences to their classrooms without having to leave the classroom. Google Expeditions was one such app but now the tech giant has announced they are shutting down the app by next year. But worry not as most of the VR tours in the app will now be moved to the Google Arts & Culture app.
Google Expeditions is a VR tool that was meant to take students on field trips while staying inside the classroom. It was initially launched as a limited access experience for educators but became available for everyone else through Android devices. Google was also selling Expedition kits which had a tablet, phone, virtual reality viewers, and a router. It had virtual 360 tours where you could visit and learn about castles, museums, historical places, etc.
But Google now acknowledges that VR headsets are not accessible to everyone even though these VR tours are all the more important during this time of learning from home and blended learning. They will be shutting down the Expeditions app but most of the content will be ported over to the Google Arts & Culture app. It already has some existing interactive tours for museums, heritage sites, and wonders of the world so it makes sense to be moving Expeditions’ field trips here.
Teachers and students (and anyone who’s just curious) can access Arts & Culture from the free website or from an Android (and iOS) app. The tours can be viewed in 360 or on the web. You don’t need a VR headset to take the tour but you still can for the immersive 360 experience. The app has also been experimenting and expanding its augmented reality content using interactive camera features so that’s something else you can add to your educational experience.
The Expeditions app will be removed from the Google Play and the App Store after June 31, 2021. Those who have previously downloaded the app will probably still be able to access it but there will no longer be updates so it will eventually become useless. If you haven’t yet, you can download the Google Arts & Culture app for free from the Google Play Store.