Last week we told you that Google was rumored to have purchased the manufacturer of Focals smart glasses, North, for $180 million. Today, in a blog post, Google Senior Vice President, Devices & Services Rick Osterloh confirmed that the deal has been done (the purchase price was not revealed). And while our initial impression was that Google decided to purchase North in an attempt to create a challenger for the rumored Apple Glass, the blog disseminated by Google and one created by North indicate that there is more to the transaction than smart glasses.
Google just might tap into the expertise of its newly acquired workers to develop a less ambitious and more consumer-oriented version of Google Glass. But Osterloh adds, "Google has always strived to be helpful to people in their daily lives. 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.Osterloh wrote, "North’s technical expertise will help as we continue to invest in our hardware efforts and ambient computing future." And sure,
Meanwhile, the three co-founders of North wrote in their blog what a perfect fit Google is for North. The blog post also indicated that Focals 2.0, the sequel to the company's OG smart glasses called Focals 1.0, will not be shipped. This could be taken a couple of ways. One, it could mean that Google has been working on its own consumer smart glasses, and shipping Focals 2.0 would be redundant. Or, it could mean that Google just isn't in the mood to be involved in such a project.
Nonetheless, Google sees the deal as moving it closer to its goal of ambient computing. But we still can't forget about smart glasses. North's founders said in its blog post, "Lastly is our appreciation for Focals 1.0 customers who share our vision of everyday smart 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." Note that this quote is directed right at Focals' users who are asked to continue the journey with the Google-North team. Sounds to us as though Google is ready to take on the consumer smart glasses market again.