Jul 1, 2020 - Technology

Google buys smart glasses firm North

People wearing glasses
Courtesy: North

Google formally announced on Tuesday that it is buying North, the Canadian smart glasses firm — a deal that had been reported last week to be in the works.

Why it matters: The move shows that Google, one of the earliest to explore high-tech eyewear, remains interested in the category.

  • Along with the acquisition, North said it was cancelling plans for its next generation of glasses. "We are winding down Focals 1.0 and we will not be shipping Focals 2.0, but we hope you will continue the journey with us as we start this next chapter," North's founders said in a blog post.

Between the lines: Augmented reality glasses are seen as the next big thing in mobile devices — but they're also still a couple of years from being ready for prime time due to high costs, poor battery life and bulk. Those factors have made it tough for North and other startups in the field.

  • Magic Leap has had its highly publicized troubles, while another pioneer — Osterhout Design Group — folded last year.

For the big companies, though, AR remains an area of keen interest.

Separately: Google has begun public testing of "Nearby Share," an AirDrop competitor that is coming to Android devices.

Go deeper: Google will start paying publishers to license content

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