Alphabet’s Google Inc. announced Tuesday that it has acquired a Canadian company called North. North, which has been around for eight years, is a smart eyewear manufacturing company backed by Amazon. Google did not disclose the value of the deal, butmedia said it was worth about $180m, less than the $200m North had previously raised.
Google was one of the first pioneers in augmented reality, launching Google Glass back in 2012 but failing to attract consumers because of overpricing and privacy concerns. Still, Google continues to offer a corporate version of Google Glass to compete with Microsoft’s Hololens.
Google said the acquisition would help it achieve its vision of “ambient computing”, where connected devices work together everywhere.
“We’re building a future where people can get help everywhere, all devices can work together, and technology is behind the scenes.” Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of equipment and services, said in a statement. “North’s technical expertise will help us continue to invest in the future of hardware and environmental computing. “
North, formerly known as Thalmic Labs, later changed its name when it released a holographic smart glasses called Focals in 2018. North said on Tuesday that the upgraded Focals 2.0 smart glasses, which were due to go on sale this year, would not be shipped after the company announced it would phase out the first generation of glasses.
North’s headquarters will remain in Canada after being acquired by Google.