Google buys smart glasses startup North

The tech giant is looking to add more to its 'ambient technology' portfolio

Google has acquired North, an eight-year-old startup that specialises in computer interfaces and smart glasses.

The value of the deal was not disclosed but the Globe and Mail suggested the price could be around $180 million when it first reported interest from Google.

The tech giant was an early pioneer in computerised glasses and augmented reality, launching Google Glass in 2012. The product hasn't brought in much success though, with its initial high price and surrounding privacy concerns putting consumers off.

Despite this, Google is still committed to improving its glass tech and building on its 'ambient technology' portfolio. 

"We're building towards a future where helpfulness is all around you, where all your devices just work together and technology fades into the background. We call this ambient computing," Google senior VP of devices & services, Rick Osterloh, wrote in a blog post.

"North's technical expertise will help as we continue to invest in our hardware efforts and ambient computing future. They'll join the Google team based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada - North's hometown and an area with impressive tech talent."

North was founded in 2012 as Thalmic Labs, a startup that developed technology that "becomes an invisible, helpful part of our everyday experience". Its early products included 'Myo', a gesture-based input device that directly converted neuro-muscular impulses into signals computers could understand. 

"Over the last while, it became clear that aligning with Google would significantly advance our shared vision," the company's founders wrote. "This acquisition is a terrific fit for North and, importantly, we're staying here in Kitchener-Waterloo. 

"We're proud to have grown our company in the Kitchener-Waterloo region and are thankful for the tremendous support we've received from the community. We are looking forward to remaining in the region with Google."  

Featured Resources

Next-generation time series: Forecasting for the real world, not the ideal world

Solve time series problems with AI

Free download

The future of productivity

Driving your business forward with Microsoft Office 365

Free download

How to plan for endpoint security against ever-evolving cyber threats

Safeguard your devices, data, and reputation

Free download

A quantitative comparison of UPS monitoring and servicing approaches across edge environments

Effective UPS fleet management

Free download

Most Popular

Best Linux distros 2021
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2021

11 Oct 2021
Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans
Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans

11 Oct 2021
Royal Mint to recover gold from smartphones and laptops in world first
Technology

Royal Mint to recover gold from smartphones and laptops in world first

21 Oct 2021