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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

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 8, 2020 - Technology

Microsoft app store playbook swipes at Apple, Google

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

In a not-so-subtle dig at Apple and Google, Microsoft today announced a series of "principles" for its Windows 10 App Store — including letting users choose their own payment system for in-app purchases — that it says should serve as a model for other app stores.

Why it matters: The move comes as antitrust regulators in the U.S. and around the world are spotlighting how both Apple and Google manage their mobile platforms and as some developers charge them with running their app stores unfairly.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Podcasts

Net neutrality on the line under Biden

Federal net neutrality rules are back on the table in the Biden administration, after being nixed by Trump, but now might be complicated by the debate over social media companies' behavior.

Axios Re:Cap digs into why net neutrality matters and what comes next with Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge and host of the Decoder podcast.

House grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted 326-78 on Thursday to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the way for the Senate to confirm President Biden's nominee for defense secretary as early as this week.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.