- Google isn’t supporting its Google Playground and AR Stickers apps on the Pixel 4a or future phones.
- It wants to focus on augmented reality for a “much wider audience.”
Don’t get too attached to Google’s Playground app or AR Stickers — they won’t carry over if you’re buying a new Pixel phone.
Google has confirmed to Android Police that it won’t support Playground or AR Stickers (and thus Playmoji) on the Pixel 4a and beyond. It’s still backing augmented reality on Android through the ARCore framework, but it wants to create AR experiences that can “serve a much wider audience.” The Pixel 4 is the last Google phone to support the apps, the company said.
The Pixel 4a includes Playground, but it’s not available through the Google Camera app.
See you later, Google Playground
The internet giant pointed to some of its other AR projects as examples of more universal support, such as the 3D animals in search results. You just need a modern web browser, and, in many cases, don’t even need an Android phone.
Read more: The best augmented reality apps for Android
This may be disheartening if you’ve had fun with Childish Gambino and other AR characters in Google’s apps. At the same time, Google is acknowledging a practical reality — as Android Authority learned from readers, people don’t use these experiences. While the reasons vary, the entertainment focus and the need to launch an app haven’t helped.
AR still has a future at Google, as the company reiterated. Apps like Arts & Culture have made good use of the technology. However, it’s apparent the tech firm will be pickier about when and how it delivers AR. You could see it less often, but you might be more likely to appreciate its uses and come back even after the novelty wears off.