Smart glasses maker North snapped up by Google

Google acquired AR glasses manufacturer North, stating the move would deliver a boost to a broader ambient computing play.

In a blog, Google SVP for devices and services Rick Osterloh said North would bolster its “efforts to build helpful devices and services”, as part of a vision “where all your devices just work together and technology fades into the background”.

North was founded as Thalmic Labs in 2012: it will join Google’s team based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada.

The company initially began work with a gesture input device capable of controlling drones, remote control cars and laptops. It then shifted focus to smart glasses with its Focals line.

In their own blog, North co-founders Stephen Lake, Matthew Bailey, and Aaron Grant said aligning with Google “would significantly advance our shared vision”. However, the move spells the end to backing for its first wearable, Focals 1.0 and plans for a successor.

Earlier this month, Facebook lined up buys of Ready at Dawn Studios and Mapillary to bolster its AR and VR capabilities.