Google is shutting down the Jacquard smart fabric app soon

Google is preparing to shut down the app responsible for the Jacquard accessories made by Google ATAP.

Project Jacquard was first unveiled by Google ATAP – the company’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, responsible for other projects like Soli – back in 2015 and debuted two years later on special jackets from Levi’s. Google’s Jacquard tech is able to embed things like touch sensors and haptic feedback into an article of clothing, which can then be paired with a smartphone.

In effect, these smart jackets – and later smart Yves Saint Laurent backpacks – allowed one to perform certain (customizable) tasks on their phone without actually touching their phone. For instance, a double-tap could play/pause music, brushing the smart fabric could change tracks, and covering the sensor for a bit would mute/unmute notifications.

Since its launch, various companies have launched products that incorporated Google Jacquard. In addition to the Levi’s jackets and YSL bag, Samsonite brought its own Jacquard backpack to the market, while Adidas chose to use Jacquard tech to make a smart insole for soccer players. Outside of consumer use, Google ATAP has also incorporated Jacquard into various art installations.

However, with the latest update to Google’s Jacquard app – necessary for interacting with the smart fabric accessories via Bluetooth – our APK Insight team has found that Google is preparing to shut down the Jacquard experience altogether.

Starting with the Play Store listing, the “What’s new” description for this update talks about letting customers know about changes to “product support in the future.”

This release adds the ability to inform users of updates to product support in the future.

Within the app itself, there’s a new message that’s shown if you open the Jacquard app while not connected to the internet. The message comes just shy of confirming that the app will be shut down in the near future.

The Jacquard App is unable to start because your internet connection may be down or the Jacquard App is no longer available/supported.

Digging deeper, though, we were able to confirm that the app now checks Google’s servers to verify whether the Jacquard app is permitted to continue working. In the code, this is referred to as “AppShutdown,” and there are also mentions of “eol” (end of life).

Putting it all together, it seems abundantly clear that Google is preparing to shut down its Jacquard app. Crucially, when the service does shut down, it appears that existing Jacquard backpacks and jackets will no longer be able to function, as the companion app will be unavailable altogether. As the Adidas insole uses a separate app, it’s not clear if it too will be affected by the upcoming Jacquard shutdown.

We reached out to Google for clarification on the situation, but the company was not immediately available to respond.

Author: Kyle Bradshaw
Source: 9TO5Google

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