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Google Is Shutting Down Its Jump VR Video Program

Janko Roettgers

Google will shut down Jump, its cloud-based video stitching service, this summer. The company emailed creators Friday afternoon to tell them that Jump would be shuttered on June 28, and detailed plans for the shut-down on its website as well.

In its email, Google justified the closure of Jump with the emergence of new video formats and cameras for VR video. “As these new cameras, formats, and editing tools became available, we saw usage of Jump assembler decline,” the email reads in part.

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Users of Jump won’t be able to upload new footage to the service after June 26, and will have until June 27 to download all of their files. Jump-compatible cameras will continue to work with third-party video editing software, the company said Friday.

Jump was part of an ambitious bet on VR video, which also included the development of dedicated VR cameras in partnership with companies like GoPro and Yi. Google first announced a partnership with GoPro in 2015, and then partnered up with Yi in the following year. In 2017, Yi released a $17,000 VR camera made in partnership with Google.

But while Google left the hardware production to others, it was very involved in the camera design as well as the development of the software. The idea behind Google’s engagement in this space was to simplify the capture and production of 360-degree 3D video with the help of Google’s cloud muscles.

Jump-compatible camera rigs would capture video with 16 or more individual action cameras, which would then be uploaded directly to Google’s servers. There, Google’s Jump software would automatically stitch the source videos together to a 360-degree 3D video, doing away with the need of manual stitching.

In addition to its hardware partnerships and the development of the cloud-based Jump software, Google also used Jump as a way to kickstart VR content production for YouTube and beyond. To that end, the company outfitted its YouTube creator spaces with Jump cameras to help creators shoot 360-degree video.

The closure of Jump isn’t Google’s first departure from VR. The company had also planned to develop a high-end cinematic VR camera in partnership with Imax, but pulled the plug on that project in late 2017, as Variety was first to report.

Google is also said to have reassigned much of its Daydream VR team to work on augmented reality instead, and shuttered its Spotlight Stories VR studio in March.

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